• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Practical Criticism:

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

English Literature Stage II Romanticism EN2 Practical Criticism: "The Tyger" William Blake Blake's poem "The Tyger" - written somewhere between 1785 and 1789 - was first published in Songs of Innocence and Experience. These two interconnected books of poetry were intended to show the "two contrary states of the human soul. Appropriately enough "The Tyger" appeared in the second book, Experience, and has as its natural counter part "The Lamb" in Innocence. "The Tyger" as a poem is a perennial international favourite. It has been more frequently and widely published than any other poem in English. The diction and rhyme scheme of both poems suggest they were written for children which is ostensibly the intended audience for the Songs. However the choice of words and cadence works on far deeper levels than just creating a palatable nursery-rhyme rhythm for children. The lively trochaic metre, aswell as suggesting a nursery rhyme, could be likened to a chant or invocation. The repetition of "Tyger! Tyger!" with its double exclamation marks support this idea. It gives the whole poem a quasi-religious tone which is maintained - albeit ambiguously - throughout the poem. Simultaneously the exclaimed repetition of "Tyger! Tyger!" could be seen as an awed whisper, a terrified cry or an oath of some kind. The immediate stressed syllables at the start of the foot (Ty - ger! ...read more.

Middle

The fact that Blake comes full circle in the poem and repeats the fist verse substituting the word "could" for the more sinister "dare" indicates to me that there are no easy answers to any of the questions the poem's narrator raises. Although some spectators, including Robert Graves, see its openness as a fault and consider it somehow incomplete and confused the fact that it underwent numerous redrafts and excisions by Blake suggest that everything in it, including the variations in tense, is deliberate. The ostensibly simple, child-like diction of Songs, specifically "The Tyger" , belies the complexity of the ideas behind it. The exact nature of these ideas is difficult to determine, after all it is often said that Blake wrote the poem in a quasi-schizophrenic interlude. From an historicism standpoint the meaning of "The Tyger" could be related to the ferocity of revolutionary France. However as Blake was in support of the French Revolution and its tenets of "Liberty, Equality and Fraternity" I think the poem is too ambiguous to bear any direct relation to those events, especially considering the bloodshed of "The Terror" had not begun. As the poem is present in what was apparently a children's book of instructive poetry one could see it as confirmation of the mighty power of god the Creator however, given Blake's unorthodox religious beliefs and disdain for the given order of Christian religion, this is unlikely. ...read more.

Conclusion

A storm that occurred because Satan used his own powers to create dissent within Adam. As a result Man broke away from both the Old Testament god and Satan, as did the tyger. However the tyger is not a mirror image of Man in his fallen state but a vision of what Man could be in his exalted state. Where the tyger provoke pitying tears and spears from the stars the "meek..and..mild" Lamb of Innocence attains blessings from god. Whereas the lamb is a child to who "Gave thee life" the tiger has broken free into a mature fiery revolutionary splendour - The Tyger is a symbol of the "Dionysiac Principle" - the hedonistic urge to be free and follow ones productive animal instincts. This partially tallies with the popular psychoanalytic reading of the poem: the tyger is the ultimate embodiment of the Id liberated from the command of the Urizen the ultra-rational superego. The sexual implications inherent in a psychoanalytic reading - although present within the symbol, mystery, potency, and (lustful?) heat of the Tyger and within the pubertal development of childhood lamb to predatory tiger -unfortunately have no space within the 1,500 words allowed here. G.Gulati. October 2000 1 In fact Blake excised the too emotionally loaded word "cruel" from his initial draft of the poem, probably to maintain the readers objectivity. I think the intimations of the word did not fit easily with the meanings of the poem whereas "dread", "fearful" etc. were valid in their context. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE William Blake section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE William Blake essays

  1. The Analysis of William Blake's 'The Tyger and the lamb'.

    own creation' This 'overwhelming responsibility' can draw parallels with real life; Oppenheimer after seeing how destructive the atom bomb could be, was so horrified by his creation he took his own life. 4th Stanza: What the hammer? What the chain?

  2. William Blake: Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience.

    to show us, that in this world, being happy the whole time is impossible, as you cannot be born happy. In an ideal world, babies would be born smiling and joyful, like in 'Infant Joy', as Blake would like it to be.

  1. 'Modernist writers disturbed their readers by adopting complex and difficult new forms and styles'. ...

    It is described as 'a young man, strong, indifferent, inconsiderate, were swinging dumb-bells this way and that'6. It marks the movements of the two doctors, Peter Walsh and Sir Richard as they move through their day, making pronouncements. St Margaret's on the other hand is the feminine.

  2. William Blake Compare and Contrast'The Lamb and the Tyger'

    But is still left unanswered because 'The Tyger' is so evil it doesn't deserve an answer. Blake chooses to do this to question the reader and try and create an imaginative effect on the reader - so the poem questions the reader rather than the reader questioning the poem.

  1. With reference to at least four poems, show how they are representative of themes ...

    New birth is no happy event but continues the cycle of misery, and the wedding carriage is seen as a hearse, leading to a kind of death. This death could represent the death of innocence and happiness. The word "plagues" here suggests the sexually transmitted diseases which the "youthful harlot" would contract and pass on to others.

  2. "To say the word Romanticism is to say modern art- that is intimacy, spirituality, ...

    It is a metaphor for the restrictions or constraints that are placed on people, either by society's expectations and demands or perhaps by themselves. It appears that Blake suggests that people in London are manacled by their own moral "weakness".

  1. London Before The Great Fire.

    Even though this day was pretty destructive, it was nothing like the day to come. (This picture shows citizens escaping the flames in (mostly)hired boats) 5 Obliteration Tuesday 4th of September 1666 was the most damaging day of the Fire by far.

  2. Gender, Authority and Dissent in English Mystical Writers - Is Margery Kempe a mystic?

    Whereas Hilton focused on inner spiritual growth, Kempe can only explain her transcendence through what was familiar to her - the body.4 She even says that 'sometimes, what she understood physically was to be understood spiritually'. Thus, whereas her visions may at many points seem extreme and even distasteful it

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work