Compare and contrast the poems

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Brendan Mullan S2B

Compare and contrast the poems “The Tyger” and “The Donkey” and discuss which poet gives us the clearest depiction of humanity.

William Blake is a wealthy, upper-class writer who separates himself from the rest of the wealthy community. Blake has a hate for the techniques used by many of the wealthy, company owners who gain and capitalise through cheap and expendable labour, supplied by the ever-growing poverty in the country. Blake makes a point to try and reveal this industrial savagery through his work. “The Tyger” is presented as a metaphorical approach to the struggle between the rich and the poor; good and evil. The several references to good and evil reinforce this idea and meaning.

“The Tyger” holds one great metaphorical element, which is, what created the tiger? Good or evil? It raises many theories for the tiger’s existence but the main point is to show that there is good and evil in everyone and everything. Blake shows us how something so beautiful can really be both beautiful but still retain a certain ferocity and savagery. Such as the wealthy factory owners of the 18th century, they offered a well-paid job and good employment benefits, but that was all just a façade. The truth was cramped and dangerous working conditions, low pay and long hours; yet the people continued to labour in these factories at their own expense, while the wealthy owner sat back and watched workers toil and cash flow. The metaphor for this is like temptation, desperation and greed can lead people to be fooled, though true these people weren’t greedy yet they were desperate for money to survive, although they could not judge correctly for themselves and became entrapped in the businessman’s deception. Just like “The Tyger” “The Donkey” shows this same view but not in the perception of good and evil but in the view of deception and ill judgement. “The Donkey” scolds us for judging in looks alone, seeing a donkey as nothing more than a dumb, ugly tool for use on whim, it teaches the reader that looks can be deceiving and to take one look at something and judge it before even trying to learn more about it is ignorance and foolishness. Chesterton, like Blake is trying to teach the world as lesson, he is trying to tell people to open their eyes to world and things around them, instead of ignoring them and dwelling in narcissism and selfishness. He is saying, try to see the world through the eyes of others, learn about new things, and learn never to misjudge someone or something mainly on first impressions.

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“The Tyger” presents a lot of imagery ranging from that of the tiger itself to that of its origin. Blake through his language aids us in creating a mental image of his poem stanza by stanza. Blake gives us rhetorical questions, which gradually introduce and draw us into the poem, giving us images of each theory such as:

“In what distant deeps or skies”

Gives us an image of perhaps heaven and hell, or simply the sky and the earth or perhaps even thinking in terms of the human mind. Which area of the brain conceived such a ...

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