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Compare ‘The Tyger’ and ‘The Lamb’ by Blake.

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Introduction

Compare 'The Tyger' and 'The Lamb' by Blake 'The Lamb' is taken from Blake's 'Songs of Innocence' and 'The Tyger' is taken from Blake's 'Songs of Experience'. 'The Lamb' describes a child asking a 'Little Lamb' who made it and, in the second stanza, the child's question is answered. Each poem in 'Songs of Innocence' has a parallel in Blake's collection 'Songs of Experience' and 'The Tyger' is the parallel to 'The Lamb'. It, too, poses the question of who created the animal. The two creatures that are the subjects of these poems are very different from each other. Lambs are benign, domesticated, cuddly animals which even a tiny child can safely pet. Tigers are magnificent beasts, but could be described as killing machines, perfectly designed to stalk, hunt and kill. They are a danger to other forms of life, including man. As parallels to one another, on one level the two poems have a lot in common. They ask the same basic question: who created the animal that is the subject of the poem? There is even a link to 'The Lamb' in 'The Tyger', when the question is asked 'Did he who made the lamb make thee?' At a deeper level, they both explore Blake's view of the world and of God, and of the nature of the relationships between God and Man and between Man and the world which God created. ...read more.

Middle

The picture created in the first two lines of a dark forest lit only by the brightness of the predatory tiger immediately creates a sense of night-time menace that is quite the opposite of the bright, pastoral imagery in 'The Lamb'. The questions asked in 'The Tyger' are less direct, such as 'In what distant deeps or skies Burnt the fire of thine eyes? On what wings dare he aspire?' It is full of images of fire and power. For instance, Blake describes the tiger as 'burning bright' and uses references to a blacksmith's forge to describe how he was created, 'What the hammer? What the chain, In what furnace was thy brain?' The mechanical nature of the images reflects the poet's view of industrialisation. The blazing hot forge is producing something the world might be better off without. The poem contains several images of violence, as in the hand that 'dare seize the fire', the twisting of the sinews of the tiger's heart and the reference to 'deadly terrors'. It also has a steady, rhythmic beat like a heart, or a tiger gaining steadily on its prey, which creates an air of menace, while 'The Lamb' is more flowing. Both poems have an essentially religious or spiritual theme. However, only in 'The Lamb' is the poem's question answered because it is clear from the second stanza that 'He' who 'calls himself a Lamb' and 'became a little child' is the Christian God. ...read more.

Conclusion

Tyger! Burning bright In the forests of the night;' The fact that the poems complement each other helps me to understand them because I feel that Blake is describing the two extremes of God's creation, and through them the two sides of human nature, in a more effective and immediate way than if he had attempted to do so in a single poem. On the surface, 'The Lamb' seems a very simple poem. The complexity of the concept it expresses regarding the nature of God's relationship with Man emerges most clearly by reading it in conjunction with 'The Tyger'. Through these two related but very different poems, Blake has successfully brought into sharp contrast the two different faces of God, which seem to be revealed if we look at the world he created. His world contains the harmless, gentle lamb but also the menacing tiger. Blake asks the thought-provoking question to the tiger 'Did he who made the Lamb make thee?' and the two poems read together bring out very forcefully his point that God did not only create the good and beautiful things in the world but the dreadful and frightening ones also. Man has a close relationship with God and Man, too, is capable of producing both useful and destructive things. Blake clearly identifies childhood with innocence but suggests that, with experience, this innocence is lost and adults have to face the darker side of life and perhaps find themselves asking questions of God that are not as easily answered as the question asked by the child in 'The Lamb'. ...read more.

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