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Compare and contrast the ways in which William Blake struggles to understand good and evil in 'The Lamb' and 'The Tiger'.

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Introduction

GCSE English Coursework Compare and contrast the ways in which William Blake struggles to understand good and evil in 'The Lamb' and 'The Tiger' Both of the poems were written so that Blake could question creation and ask how we were created and who by. However, the poems show different ways of expressing his feelings. On reading the two poems I had to put into perspective the fact that they were written in the early eighteenth century. Therefore not only would Blake have found it difficult to understand the way of life for the tiger as we do today, but would have been writing something that would be contradicting beliefs of the time, by criticising God. 'The Lamb' in itself shows a relevance to his questioning as the lamb represents Jesus as the Lamb of God. 'The Tiger' however symbolises evil, a beast. Blake shows two totally opposite ends of the spectrum by picking these two animals. The lamb being good and gentle, 'by the stream and o'er the mead' showing peace and almost perfect harmony. The tiger is shown as evil and a beast, 'burning bright, in the forests of the night'. This immediate contrast shows Blake's confusion and wonder of the two different types of animals and why the same person could have created such different creatures. The language of the two are contrasting, as in 'The Tiger' the sophisticated language; 'while the stars threw down their spears and watered heaven with their tears', and shows Blake's disapproval and almost fear of God's creation. ...read more.

Middle

This differs however to the childlike language and comforting atmosphere in 'the lamb', where Blake describes the lamb's 'softest clothing, woolly, bright' simply, and convincing not only himself but the reader in his confidence that a kind and gentle God created it. Unlike in 'The Tiger', Blake shows his faith in God in 'The Lamb' and shows his confidence in God's good will. He describes the lamb and its surroundings with beauty and joy by saying 'making all the vales rejoice', and unlike in 'The Tiger' answers his question about God, with great pride and confidence, saying 'I'll tell thee', showing his confidence in the fact that God created the lamb. He describes God as a calm and gentle creator, who 'is meek and mild'. In The Tiger he does not show these thoughts but instead describes the creator as a horrifying creature, who would 'dare frame thy fearful symmetry'. 'The Tiger' is almost like a protest against the beliefs of the time. In the time of writing this, people views on God were very simple. These were that he was the sole creator of Earth and was kind and all-powerful. However, Blake seems to make a protest by asking questions that people would not think of, for instance questioning if God is in fact all powerful and kind. He represents this in the poems as I have said. ...read more.

Conclusion

He is seen as the saviour and as a loving creator who 'blesses' the lamb. Blake shows tremendous confidence in God, and shows this with such an innocent creature like the lamb. In 'The Tiger', he shows a different point of view though about God. Blake asks himself if God is really all good, and on asking 'Did he smile at his work?' he showed his disgust and sadness over the realization that God was meant to be pleased with all of his creation and therefore would also have to be pleased with the 'evil' that he had created, like 'the tiger'. As well as confusing himself Blake also confuses the reader, by trying to ask questions that no one can answer. Blake tries to ask if God has two opposing motives or if not then he would be too complex for humans to understand. His clear understanding of our Creator in 'The Lamb' is met by the realization of the possible truths about Him in 'The Tiger'. Blake has a definite understanding of creation in the lamb, 'I'll tell thee', but then from 'Songs of experience', shows in the tiger that maybe God is not perfect and good, as he would not allow evil, in the form of the tiger to exist. The innocence and simple truth about the creator, God, in the lamb, is borne out by these thoughts and feelings, and because of this Blake and we are left with the unanswered questions of not only how were we created, but why would the creator create evil as well as good? ...read more.

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