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“The Tyger” by William Blake Essay

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Updated: Mar 12th, 2020

Introduction

William Blake is one of the most renowned English men of letters. “The Tyger” is one of his most famous poems, which is highly analyzed. This popularity can be explained by a number of factors. The poem was created in 1794 and rather a few people actually saw a tiger. Therefore, for some people the poem was a kind of reminding of the fearful experience and for others the poem was a source of ‘bright’ and ‘evocative’ knowledge.

The poet depicts one of the most majestic animals in the world and he manages to reveal the beauty and covert danger. The poem is rightfully regarded as one of the best literary works in the world literature due to the stunning imagery with its special grave mood created by the author and the use of bright literary devices and figures of speech which help the poet reveal his vision.

The Major Theme of the Poem

To begin with, the poem is quite short and it has a single theme. The entire poem is a depiction of a tiger. Of course, this is a literary work and the depiction involves the poet’s evaluation or rather contemplation. Blake does not simply provide physical characteristics of the animal. The poet keeps depicting the animal as a beautiful but dangerous beast whose “fearful symmetry” makes people tremble (Blake, 2008, p. 24).

This precision and even certain density make the work really evocative. The poet manages to reveal his major message, i.e. fascination for the dangerous beauty of the animal and appreciation of the superior forces which created this amazing beast. Thus, the poet does not simply provide a picture, but he creates a small world where the “tyger” reigns.

The Stunning Imagery of the Poem

It is necessary to note that this world is bright and full of rich color. Remarkably, there are hardly particular images or objects. The poem provides some tinges of colors and some shapes of objects. The poet does not describe stars, but he focuses on “their spears” and “water’d heaven with their tears” (Blake, 2008, p. 24). Furthermore, Blake provides really stunning imagery as he contemplates on the creation of the beast.

Again, the poet does not depict some consecutive actions or the creator. The poet concentrates on the tools. Blake enquires, “What the hammer? What the chain,/ In what furnace was thy brain? / What the anvil?” (Blake, 2008, p. 25). Thus, Blake uses some bright details which do not show the entire picture but help to recreate it. Notably, the poet makes the reader use his/her imagination. Thus, the reader is a co-creator of the world.

It is also necessary to note that the imagery of the poem creates a really special mood. The mood is somewhat grave as the poet is talking about a ‘fearful’ beast and its creation. Blake mentions the creator and it is impossible to think of another mood when dealing with such essential things.

The Literary Devices Used in the Poem

It goes without saying that the poet exploits a number of literary devices and figures of speech to create his world. The poem is full of metaphors. For example, instead of saying dark forests, the poet uses the metaphor “forests of the night” (Blake, 2008, p. 24). This contributes to creation of the grave mood of the poem. Again, Blake makes the reader imagine his/her own forest, which makes the poem even more appealing.

The poet also uses an allusion instead of simply saying that God (or, maybe, Devil) is the creator. The poet enquires, “Did he who made the Lamb make thee?” (Blake, 2008, p. 25).

This allusion refers to God. However, the poet expresses his doubt that such a terrifying beast could be created by such a kind God. At any rate, Blake claims that the beast was created by superior forces and it is the reader who is to decide which forces, good or evil, are the creators.

The Significance of the Poem

To sum up, it is necessary to note that Blake’s poem “The Tyger” is one of the most remarkable poems as it is characterized by bright imagery and brilliant literary devices. The poet creates a very special atmosphere where the tiger is created by the forces of the good or the evil. The poet manages to reveal the way he sees the beast. Obviously, Blake is fascinated by the beauty of the animal, but the poet also claims that this is dangerous and fearful beauty.

Reference List

Blake, W. (2008). The complete poetry and prose of William Blake. Berkley, LA: University of South California Press.

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IvyPanda. (2020) '“The Tyger” by William Blake'. 12 March.

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