13 November 2013
The use of the word “Tyger” to symbolize evil
in William Blake’s “The Tyger”
In the poem “The Tyger”, William Blake questions the creation and existence of evil. The poet uses the “Tyger” to symbolize evil and create a sense of ownership to itself, as the entire poem is made up of questions directed at the “Tyger”. Throughout the poem, Blake questions the “Tyger” (evil) as to whom, where, and how it was formed. Lastly, Blake finishes by questioning the existence of the “Tyger” at all.
In the poem, Blake paints a picture of a “higher power” creating the “Tyger.” In the first stanza the central question of the poem: what “immortal” being or force could create such a creature is introduced. The “immortal hand or eye” references sight and creation by God, or some omnipotent being. As well, Blake asks how God could “frame thy fearful symmetry” suggesting how can such a divine evil be contained? Blake uses the “Tyger” to create a sense of something big and mysterious and at the same time having some sort of energy and power. This level of complexity requires the divine creative power of an immortal God. The second stanza uses the word “he” in the third line again hinting the creator is God, or some “higher power.” In the third stanza, Blake returns to the creator with descriptions of “his” omnipotence. Writing “…what shoulder, and what art” suggesting strength and skill required to create the “Tyger.” Chase 2
The second and fourth stanzas go on to ask where and how “the Tyger” (evil) was created. In the second stanza, Blake’s use of “distant deeps or skies” could refer to another world, possibly hell or heaven as the place the “Tyger” was created. The image of the “Tyger” being created in such a place adds another level of mystery for the reader. Additionally, in stanza four, Blake begins to question how the “Tyger” was formed. The use of the metaphor of a blacksmith helps the...
Cited: Blake, William. “The Tyger.” The Compact Bedford Introduction to Literature. Ed. Michael Meyer. 9th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s. 2012. 749. Print.
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