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Williams Blake: The Lamb and The Tiger comparison

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Introduction

Compare and contrast two poems by William Blake: The Lamb and The Tiger. I have chosen two poems from Williams Blake to compare and contrast. The first poem is called 'The Lamb' from his collection of poems called 'Songs of Innocence', meaning purity, goodness and child likeness. The second poem is called 'The Tiger' and is from 'Songs of Experience'. This could mean that they know what life is like; they have experience and are born predators. I thought that these two poems would be good to compare as they display totally opposite meanings. In the first verse the poet appears to be talking to the lamb and asking questions such as 'Dost thou know who made thee?' In the second verse it gives the answers such as 'For he calls himself a lamb.' He talks about the lamb as a positive and happy creature. 'Gave thee such a tender voice, making all the vales rejoice' this makes us think the creature is sweet and vulnerable. It appears that the lamb lives in a happy and cheerful place. We think this is because it is such a nice habitat. Blake uses certain language techniques to help us understand the character of the lamb and its habitat. On a number of occasions he uses the alliterated phrase 'Little Lamb' to draw attention and state the fact that the lamb is so innocent, cute and little. ...read more.

Middle

This makes it sound like the Tiger has piercing, angry eyes. He continues to do so into verse three where he says 'twist the sinews of thy heart.' This makes me think of evil as the word 'twist' makes me think of evil, sick and twisted, also as it involves the heart. He then uses the word 'dread' repeatedly, exaggerating the ferociousness of the animal. As does Blake describe the habitat in 'The Lamb' he also does so in 'The Tiger'. He says 'In the forests of the night'. Unlike in 'The Lamb' where the habitat is peaceful and blissful this is the complete opposite. 'The forests' are associated with darkness and a frightening place to be. Also bad things happen at night. 'The forests of the night'. These two scenarios, when together create a terrifying scene and place to be. The rhythm of this poem is full of power, just like the tiger. The poet has again in this poem matched the rhythm of the poem to the character of the animal. The rhythm could represent the heartbeat of the Tiger or the stop of his feet running through the dark forest after prey such as a 'Little Lamb.' Finally, the poet uses rhyming couplets again but this time not in same effect, it does not sound childish. ...read more.

Conclusion

I think the poem 'The Lamb' is very pastoral, because it gives us an image of a quiet and peaceful countryside. "By the stream and o'er the mead", this gives us a image of the scene in which the poem is set. With it he uses positive words such as "rejoice", this show that Blake loves the wonders of the countryside and wants to see no change. Turning to 'The Tiger', it is quite obvious that Blake does not approve of the city overtaking the countryside. An example of this is, "burning bright" and "fire in thine eyes", it is conceivable that he may be referring to the factories and their chimneys. The rhythm of the poem is strong and powerful and could be linked with the machinery used in this time, as he also mentions "hammer" and "chains" in the same verse as "deadly terrors". This makes me think that Blake sees the factories and their tools as a predator towards the countryside, like a Tiger, eating its prey, a Lamb. The peaceful countryside is being burdened by the inner cities. In conclusion, I think the poems can be related to some issues that remain today, such as The Countryside vs. The City issue, also linked to the experience and innocence within the poems. Overall, I preferred the poem "The Tiger" as the more complex vocabulary and strong phrases builds up a more extreme mental image. Vanessa Bird ...read more.

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