The Tyger is a short verse lyric of twenty-four lines that continuously asks, without giving definite answers, how an all-immaculate God in charge of goodness and innocence can create and allow the existence evil and violence. Essentially, its inquiries are unanswerable, for they seek a domain that the human ability cannot comprehend. A creation that is divine happens out of time and place through asuperior being who is described as incomprehensible and deserving of the honest ponder communicated by the poet before the appalling excellence of a dull conflicting reality. In each stanza, there are certain questions that are directed to a vague subject, the tiger. The extensive questioning of the existence of God and the metaphysical reference to the various corporeal characterizations of the tiger throughout the poem is purely artistic. Given this, the paper will analyze the poem byexplaining the historical perspective, describing the form, structure, literary devices as well as the obvious and implied meaning. Ideally, Blake categorically builds on the general perception that just like artwork every living creature or rather naturemust somewhat be a reflection of its maker.
After the publication of Songs of Innocence, in 1794, the bookSongs of experience was published. The poet’s aim was to illustratecontrarian nature ofthe human soul andthought. The Tyger is among the collections in the Songs of experience and immediately after its publication it became one of the contemporary all time classic poems. The poem is based on the personal philosophy of Blake of intellectual and spiritual revolution by humans. Apparently, the speaker isbewildered by seeing a tiger at night and poses several questions to it on its fierce appearance and also about its creator. Structurally, the poem comprises of six stanzas with each of the stanzas having four lines. There is a similarity between the first and last verse where the words “could” and “dare” are interchangedwith at least thirteen different questions asked throughout the question. The speaker appears to worry about how such a magnificent creature was forged but worries more about the nature of the creator. The six stanzas of the poem are rhymed andrhythmically flow with a regular meter. It is written in a neat and regular structure that has neat proportions and a simple string of questions contributing to the articulation of a central idea.
The words used by the poet create a striking imagery that is applied to question religion and create a contrast between what is good or evil. Firstly, the imagery of fire induces the potential danger and fierceness of the tiger which is a representation of is dreaded or evil. The poem opens by conjuring the image of the brightness of the eyes of the tigerin darkness. Further, the question, “What the hand, dare seize the fire” (8)creates anensuing imagery of a creator that brought about the existence of the tiger. The poet uses imagery to question the immortality of the being that created the tiger (9-12).The words appeal to a creature in possession of an atrociousstrength that might also be having a malicious intention. In nearly the same manner, Blake uses the imagery of Christianity to query whether a benevolent God would devise the tiger and also other potential horrifying beings around in the universe (17-20).This imagery evokes the celestial sphere where Christians believe creation started and using this image he enquires whether the same hand that created the innocent lamb was still the one that created the menacing tiger. Likewise, the imagery of nature is used in evoking the heavens on the possible creation of the tiger.
The term tyger can be translated to be a symbolic tiger that is a representation of the malevolent force of the human soul. The creator of the tiger symbolizes the creative agents that inspire ordinary men to set their minds free and falsify hearts and souls from social chains. Similarly, the forest signifies a corrupt social convention that attempts to suppress the human potentials that are good. In this poem, the night symbolizes ignorance which offers a platform for the making of false social institutions.The fearful symmetry (4& 24) is a symbolism of the presence of good and evil, the understanding of that there is always resistance to everything, a comparatively fearful symmetry.Also, the context of an individual being perplexed by the nature of the tiger and frequently asking questions is a symbolism of the later realization and appreciation of the human soul forces. The person will at the end start their personal spiritual transformation. The tiger is retrieved from the Songs of experience where immorality, corruption, and suffering in the adult world. Having passed through the world of pure childhood in the Songs of Innocence, and gone through experience world the speaker in the poem finally recognizes his soul suppressed power and realizes its necessity. The poet is perplexed at the mystery of his soul and realizes that he has acquired the humility of a lamb as well as the energy like that of the tiger that makes him fight the spread of evil in the society. The poem symbolizes the double potentials that any human being possesses.
The rhythm of the poem is created through the use of short lines as well as the rhyming couplets. There is also repetition of words like“heart” in lines ten and eleven, “tiger’ in line one, “dare” in lines seven and eight,and also “what” in lines twelve, thirteen and fourteen. The multiple repeats in the first and second stanza establish the primary rhyme of the poem such as rhythm. Blakeabundantly usesalliteration that aids in the creation of a sing-song rhythm. Some examples of alliteration in the poem are burning bright where letter “b” is seen to occur at the beginning of the two words (1). Alliteration also takes place in line five, “distant deeps” line seven, “what wings”, and line eleven, “began to beat” among others. The poet makes efficient use of metaphor throughout the poem; firstly, the first line creates uncertainty. Literally, tigers do not burn, but the poet uses metaphor to describe atiger’s bright color. Secondly, in the second line, the poet uses the words “In the forests of the night”to illustrate the uniqueness of the tiger due to its power and color. Such metaphors emphasize on the authority and fierceness of tigers in nature.
To sum up, the poet artistically uses literary devices to bring out the themes of religion, awe, and amazement. Blake categorically builds on the general perception thatjust like artwork every living creature or rather nature must somewhat be a reflection of its makerHe demonstratesmysterious beauty and divine nature of all creation as well as its virtue of the limited human view of both good and evil. In essence, the poem is meant to make the readertoobserve asthe persona realizeshis soul’s potentials and at the same time the reader can also understand themselves.Apparently, the odd spelling in “Tyger” gives the reader a hint that the poem has a special meaning.
Blake, William, and Patience Agbabi. The tyger. ProQuest LLC, 2004.