Born in the era of French revolution and the enlightenment period, William Blake uses his artistic skills to construct the poem the tiger among other compositions. Coupled with misery and disunity in the region, he symbolically uses the tiger to condemn the evil practices in the society. Therefore, by analyzing his poem the major theme that is evident is religion or Christianity. Although Christianity advocates for unity and harmony among other elements, the aspects of evilness and goodness co-exist within the same religion.
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Thus, by symbolically applying the fierce nature of the tiger, Blake not only elaborates on the theme of Christianity but also couples his artistic nature with literary skills to explore a problem that was common during his contemporary time.
Authentically, the supremacy of Christianity lies within God. Furthermore, biblical records assert that God is the creator of all living and non-living things. Ironically, according to Blake how dare God create a tiger, which is a dangerous animal? For instance, in the third line of the first stanza he, laments, “What immortal hand or eye/ could frame thy fearful symmetry?” (Blake) Therefore, although God or Christians advocate for innocence, the presence of tiger amongst them deletes their teachings.
Thus, Blake assertions are to mock Christianity. Moreover, the poet continue to mock Christianity and more so God’s creation through his literal setting, which is at night. Most people associate darkness with evil, hell or Satan but Blake chooses to describe the tiger in this situation. For example, in the first line of the first stanza he writes, “Tyger! Tyger! Burning bright/ In the forests of the night” (Blake), which proves his doubts about Christianity.
In addition, the setting of the poem (darkness) symbolizes the social injustices and oppressive nature of the people who promote Christianity in the region. Despite of Christianity being the common religion, the region is full of evil practices, which he compares them to the ferocious nature of the tiger.
Descriptively, Blake uses a surprising tone to write the poem. Therefore, the mood of amazement runs throughout the poem. Furthermore, he uses questions to construct his poem. For instance, in the first line of the fourth stanza he laments, “What the hammer? What the chain? / In what furnace was thy brain?” (Blake) Moreover, this shows his dissatisfaction in not only the creation of the tiger but also Christianity/God.
The surprising mood that encompasses the poem shows that Blake indirectly disliked the practices and teachings of Christianity more so the biblical teachings. Significantly, the title of the poem ‘Tyger’ relates to its content despite of having a symbolic meaning. Blake is against the coexistence of both evil and good practices in the same religion. The tiger is a fierce animal thus representing evil. However, the poet uses the animal to condemn not only the pretence of some of Christians but also to question about the purity of God’s creation.
In amazement, in the fourth line of the fifth stanza, he compares the Tiger with the lamb. Although the two animals originate from the same creator, they present different characters. Critically, the tiger may represent the human soul, which has to face many social injustices. However, the soul has to struggle ferociously to overcome all the injustice..
The major literary device that Blake applies in his poem is the metaphor. The title of the poem, tiger metaphorical represents the demonic powers that promote evilness and social injustices amongst people. Although God/bible or Christianity preaches about humanity, social injustices and oppression, (tiger) are some of the aspects, which hinder the existence of humans in the world. Secondly, Blake uses irony to emphasize on his subject matter.
For example in the third line of the fifth stanza, he says, “Did he smile his work to see?” (Blake) This question ironical condemns the creation of the tiger. God created happiness amongst humans but at the same time, He brought evilness, which takes away the happiness. Therefore, nobody can smile at the creation because seemingly he destroyed it. Thirdly, there is Allusion where Blake refers the creation of the tiger to God and Satan. In the third line of the last stanza, Blake writes, “What immortal hand or eye”, to show his dissatisfaction in the existence of the tiger.
Finally, there is repetition or Anaphora throughout the poem especially the constant use of the word ‘what’ at the beginning of the sentences. In addition, the poem has a rhyming scheme composed of six quatrains each consisting of two couplets. The rhyming scheme emphasizes the theme of the poem, which is Christianity.
In conclusion, although William Blake does not fully provide his identity or that of the narrator in the poem, he manages to write implicitly his poem. Personally, I would describe the narrator as a human rights activist because of his condemnation against evilness and inhumanity. Finally, the narrator’s contemptuous attitude towards the subject matter proves his dislike against inhumanity in the society. In the last line of the last stanza, he says, “What immortal hand or eye Dare/ frame thy fearful symmetry? (Blake) Moreover, this shows his contemptuous attitude.
Blake, William. THE TYGER (from Songs Of Experience), n.d. Web.