Saturday, October 08, 2005

The Tyger by William Blake

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forest of the night
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare seize the fire?

And What shoulder, and what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? and what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And watered heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the lamb make thee?

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?


The first thing that caught my attention in this poem is the spelling of "tyger." It reminds me of Winnie the Poo for some reason. It has a couplet rhyme scheme as well, so the poem seems childish at first. But with closer examination, this poem glorifies the deadly power of the "tyger." There is an awing tone when the speaker talks about the creation of the tyger. Blake capitalizes the "What" in "What shoulders" as if they are divine. The creation of the tyger's mind is also fascinating because Blake portrays the tyger's brain as if it were forged, and is therefor strong and cold (like metal). I believe the "lamb" is also a symbol for Christ, so the tyger is just as divine, but is fierce rather than calm and helping. I like the complexity of this poem, but I do not think I fully understand every part of this poem.

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