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Critical Analysis of "The Tyger" by William Blake

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Introduction

Tyger. By William Blake. William Blake was a mystic poet who pondered upon the mysteries of the universe and seeked to unravel them. In his poem "the tiger", Blake questions the need of god to create such a ferocious and destructive animal after having created a harmless and gentle one as the lamb already thus pondering upon the dichotomy of creation i.e. to have 2 branching aspects to every aspect, positive as well as negative. Thus the central theme of the poem itself deals with this dichotomy as he asks why the same creator could create both the lamb and the tiger whose creation seems like an eternal puzzle to him. The poem begins with the line "tiger, tiger burning bright" in which the word "tiger" is repeated to make it seem as if the poet is addressing to the tiger itself and achieve emphasis. The words "burning bright" which show alliteration through the plosive "b", identify the tiger with fire thus casting fire as the central image in the poem. The poet associates the tiger with fire because of their very similar characteristics. They both are violent, wild, ferocious, merciless and destructive, devastating etc. ...read more.

Middle

He asks what kind of shoulders or muscles the creator has to bend and twist the muscles of the heart of the tiger while being made. Through the word "twist" the poet implies the hardness of the heart of the tiger [because of its violent character]. He also asks about the imagination of the creator to actually think of such a thing as the tiger and then make its shape so flawlessly. And in the next line the poet says that the moment when the tiger comes alive in one that's dreadful. The coming to life of the tiger is terrible and frightening. In the next stanza the poet pictures the making of the tiger's brain. He says that the tiger's brain was surely made in a furnace as in the line "what the hammer, what the chain? In what furnace was thy brain?" By this the poet is actually trying to tell us that the brain, [which is a delicate organ] of the tiger is so hard that it could only be made in a place like the furnace through which he associates the tiger with heat and power. ...read more.

Conclusion

The last stanza is a repetition of the first stanza which would be necessary to complete the symmetry of the poem as the poem reflects the theme of dichotomy in the structure of the poem as well. The only difference is that the word "could" is replaced with the word "dare". This is because the mystery of how the tiger was made has been solved but the question now is, who has the ultimate power to actually make it Structure and tone: The poem in a perfect and well made poem that reflects the theme of the poem which deals with dichotomy. It has stanzas of equal length with a perfect rhyme scheme of aabb. As for the dichotomy, we see that the first stanza is repeated to complete the symmetry, contrast, as in "burning bright" and "forest of the night", and the contrast of hand and feet in the line "what dread hand and what dread feet". The symbolism is in the representation of the tiger and the stars and lamb of the positive and negative forces respectively. The poem has a series of rhetoric questions that make you agree with the poet and the poem itself. The poem thus gives the poem a perfect structure by reflecting dichotomy throughout. ...read more.

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