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  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: English
  • Document length: 4288 words

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

Extracts from this essay...

Introduction

The Analysis of William Blake's 'The Tyger and the lamb' William Blake lived 1757 to 1827 and was born and lived in London. As a young boy and throughout his later life Blake experienced many strange and unusual vivid visions, claiming to have seen Angels and ghosts. This I feel has a great relevance in his decision to write poetry about God and mystical beings. From the age of 10 Blake wanted to be an artist and after training continued mainly engraving. Throughout his life Blake was mainly renowned for his art but later became famous for his poetry .In 1782 he married a woman called Catherine Boucher who introduced him to famous literary figures where he learnt about philosophy and started writing his famous poetry. In 1789 he wrote his first book called the 'Book of Thel' an illuminated edition with pictures. He also wrote and published a poetry collection called 'Songs of Innocence' (which is where 'The lamb' was written.) Then in 1794 he wrote the 'Songs of Experience', which was written to be the second part to his poetry collection with the 'Songs of Innocence' in this 'The Tyger' was written. And, within both poems 'The Lamb' and 'The Tyger' were coupled. 'The Tyger' by William Blake 1st stanza: Tyger! Tyger! Burning bright. The first line of the poem is very powerful, with the use of the first syllable emphasis (trochee) and the second word being repeated. On a literal level this is obviously talking about a Tyger and with the use of exclamation marks to give the impression of a statement or a warning, something to be feared and that is dangerous, it could also be someone addressing the Tyger itself, calling or maybe shouting for its attention. The next few words of the first line 'Burning' and 'bright' makes you thing on a literal level of perhaps the colour of the Tyger orange .On a slightly more philosophical level the word burning could be associated with a fire

Middle

The overall structure and levels of the poem shows the use of the word symmetry in the first stanza was important in Blake's eyes as, the poem was written symmetrically. Having such similar stanzas at the beginning and the end of the poem. Therefore Blake has matched the form of the poem with the meaning of the poem. Throughout the poem the use of the rhyming lines and half rhyming lines are very important, especially in all stanzas lines 1 and 2 and then 3 and 4 both having rhyming couplets. The half rhymes are used in areas of the poem where Blake is emphasizing a Key point in the poem. An example is in the first and the last stanza the lines 3 and 4. In stanza four Blake also uses a Caesura to build up the excitement for the next verse where you find out who created the Tyger. The levels of meaning summarised throughout the poem show that on the basic literal level is, the description of the Tyger and of the poem. O n the philosophical level the poem asks the question of good and evil and, why if God was good and created everything did God create evil, also Blake is exploring creation, creators and God or Gods. Blake also uses a slightly more obscure level called the metapoetic level that runs throughout the poem where Blake talks about the creators creating things and having the responsibility that it in tails. Something that would be lasting and too many would mean a great deal. Blake through the poem is actually referring to himself .He is also a creator creating his poetry which will last and the responsibility that he in tails knowing that it will mean a lot to many. Blake is writing a poem about writing a poem 'The Lamb' by William Blake 1st Stanza: Little Lamb who made thee?

Conclusion

But, they differ in the fact that the Tyger is exploring the question of Good and Evil and the particular question 'Why if God is good and created everything, then did he then go and create evil'. Whereas in the Lamb Blake is directly linking the poem with Christianity, unlike in The Tyger where he only links the Christian God at the end of the poem and is quite indirect, having most of the poem referring to 'Gods'. The Lamb is very much about God and the relationship between his son Jesus and his creation, man. And, the sacrifices he had to make (i.e. Destroy his own son Jesus' innocence) to take responsibility for his own creation (mankind). Throughout both poems the obscure metapoetic theme is also visible that Blake is writing a poem (a creative act) about writing a poem (a creative act) and in being very keen to emphasize the importance of responsibility which any creator has on their own creation .Blake is using the well known example of God and also the example which God created for himself of the sacrifices you have to make when things go wrong. Now I can also see the links between the poems and their book placing .Why they were written and then why The Lamb answers The Tyger .After writing The Lamb Blake had obviously associated it with innocence and therefore was placed in a poem collection called 'Songs of Innocence'. Blake then answered The Lamb with The Tyger I think because having made the parallel between God and himself both being creators and that God too had to sacrifice something dear to him (his own son) to rescue something he was responsible for making, I think Blake himself was trying to answer the question 'Why if God created man in the image of himself did he give him the opportunity to do evil why give man choice?' Hence, Blake wrote The Tyger with this theme of choice, knowledge and experience and placed the poem in the collection of poem called 'The Songs of Experience'. Abigail Goodman

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