“The Tyger” by William Blake

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“The Tyger” by William Blake Now seen as one of the most prominent figures of poetry and visual arts during the Romantic Age, William Blake was an outcast during his time and often thought to be crazy due to his radical views on religion and theology. Although he was Christian, his family rejected the generally accepted form of Christianity and going to church. While he was young, Blake claimed to have seen and interacted with the angel Gabriel, the Virgin Mary and the spirit of his deceased brother, Robert Blake. Because of these divine experiences he had so early in his life, he believed that everyone could communicate with God through good deeds, imagination and prayer and that there was no need to go to church to reaffirm this relationship. He believed that the church was solely a political institution and that it acted as a middle-man that interfered with someone’s connection with God. Blake’s views on religion greatly influenced many of his works, including “The Tyger” which was a part of his “Songs of Innocence and Experience Shewing the Two Contrary States of the Human Soul. “The Tyger” is composed of six stanzas and has a rhyme scheme of AABB, which makes it easy to read. The meter is regular and rhythmic and can be associated with the pounding and banging of a blacksmith and his tools, as described in stanza four of the poem. In “The Tyger,” William Blake questions the nature of God and faith. He asks two important rhetorical questions in the poem; Does God create both good and evil? If so what right does God have to do this? The poem is a cycle of questioning the creator of the tiger, discussing how it could have been created, and back to questioning the creator. The theme of the poem is the tiger and who created it. Was it the same God that created the gentle and innocent lamb? Or was it a much darker force, perhaps even Satan? For some Christians there is no need for such questioning; they believe God made Lucifer beautiful and perfect just as He made Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, but like Adam, Lucifer’s own indiscretion were what changed him to what he has become. Other people, like William Blake, wonder, “If God is such a compassionate, loving, caring God, why would He make such a horrifying and wicked being who causes so much harm in the world? Through vivid imagery, symbolism, and metaphors William Blake explores the question of whether or not God creates evil as well as good in the world. Right from the beginning of the poem, readers are slammed with imagery that conjures a picture of a tiger with fur blazing like fire, lighting up a dark forest. The fact that the tiger can illuminate a forest in the dead of night gives the idea that the tiger is very powerful and not like other animals.

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