In his poems “The Lamb” and “The Tyger,” William Blake uses a variety of symbols to create a contrast between innocence and experience. In “The Lamb,” the speaker describes a lamb as a symbol of innocence. The lamb is gentle and timid, and its innocence is associated with the purity of nature. In contrast, “The Tyger” is a symbol of experience. The tiger is ferocious and powerful, and its experience is associated with the dark side of human nature.
Blake uses these symbols to explore the theme of good vs. evil. In “The Lamb,” the speaker suggests that innocence is good and experience is evil. However, in “The Tyger,” the speaker seems to suggest that experience can be both good and evil. This ambivalence creates a tension in the poems that reflects the complexities of human nature.
The contrast between “The Lamb” and “The Tyger” also represents the dichotomy between heaven and hell. In “The Lamb,” the speaker describes heaven as a place of innocence, where there is no fear or pain. In contrast, “The Tyger” describes hell as a place of experience, where there is suffering and violence. This dichotomy suggests that human beings are capable of both good and evil.
Overall, Blake uses symbols to explore the complex themes of good vs. evil and heaven vs. hell. The contrast between “The Lamb” and “The Tyger” reflects the duality of human nature and the ambiguities of life.
In “The Tyger,” William Blake speculates on the origin and existence of a figurative Tiger. Through several rhetorical questions, as well as famous details, Blake asks who created “The Tyger,” and if the same person also created the Lamb. The poem is based on themes from Buddhism.
The first stanza begins with the rhetorical question, “What immortal hand or eye / Could frame thy fearful symmetry? (1-2).” Blake uses the words “immortal hand or eye” to describe whoever created the tiger, and questions why they would also create such a beautiful and symmetrical creature. The word “frame” could symbolize how the creator put so much effort into making the tiger, which leads to the next question of whether or not the same person also created its opposite, “the lamb.”
In stanza two, Blake writes, “In what distant deeps or skies. / Burnt the fire of thine eyes? (5-6).” The words “distant deeps or skies” could represent how the creator is so far away, and how the tiger’s eyes burn with passion. The word “fire” is repeated in stanza three, when Blake asks, “What the hammer? what the chain, / In what furnace was thy brain? (7-8).” The words “hammer” and “chain” could symbolize how the tiger was created through violence, and how its brain is filled with anger.
The fourth stanza asks, “What the anvil? what dread grasp, / Dare its deadly terrors clasp! (11-12).” This stanza continues to ask about the process of creation, but also begins to wonder why such a creature exists. The word “anvil” could represent how the tiger was created through pain, and the word “dread” could symbolize the fear that the tiger instills in others.
The fifth stanza asks, “When the stars threw down their spears, / And water’d heaven with their tears: (13-14).” The repeating of the word “stars” could symbolize how the creator is so far away, and how the tears of the stars watered heaven. This stanza also asks if the same person who created the lamb also created the tiger.
The sixth and final stanza concludes with, “Did he smile his work to see? / Did he who made the Lamb make thee? (17-18).” The words “smile” and “Lamb” could represent the innocence of the lamb, and how the creator is happy with its creation. The word “thee” could represent the tiger, and how it is a symbol of evil in the world.
Blake uses “The Tyger” to symbolize evil in the world, and to question the creator’s intentions with it. The repetitive words and phrases, as well as the rhetorical questions, create a sense of wonder and awe about the existence of such a creature.
The same length of stanzas and the AABB rhyme scheme, as well as the identical rhyme scheme, produce a pleasant flowing rhythm for the poem. The fast length of the lines, as well as the quick rhythm, allow readers to speed through the poem. To make his first inquiry into “The Tyger” more profound, and to reiterate it, Blake constructs the poem with a neat and succinct structure.
Throughout the poem, Blake makes use of symbolism. The first hint of symbolism is in the title itself, with the word “tyger” being symbolic of the ferocious nature of the beast, and the word “lamb” representing innocence.
In the first stanza, Blake asks four questions about the creator of the “Tyger”. He starts by questioning whether or not the creator had “hands”, which could be interpreted as meaning that he is questioning whether or not the creator is human. He then goes on to ask if the creator is a god, and if so, why he would create something so ferocious.
The final question in this stanza is perhaps the most important one: Blake wants to know why such a creator would put “the starry hammer” and “the furnaces of sorrow” in the beast. The starry hammer could be interpreted as a symbol for the destructive power of the universe, while the furnaces of sorrow could represent the pain and suffering that is caused by this destruction.
The second stanza contains more questions, but these ones are about the physical appearance of the “Tyger”. Blake asks about the beast’s eyes, teeth, and claws, and what kind of materials were used to create them. He also asks where the “Tyger” came from, and how it was brought into existence.
The final stanza is where Blake really starts to question the nature of the beast. He asks if the “Tyger” is a result of good or evil, and if it is the former, then why is it so ferocious. He also wonders if the “Tyger” will eventually turn on its creator and destroy him.
Blake’s use of symbolism throughout the poem allows him to ask some pretty deep and thought-provoking questions about the nature of creation itself. Symbolism also allows him to hint at his own views on the matter without having to state them outright. All in all, Symbolism in Poems The Lamb and The Tyger is a pretty powerful poem that makes you think about some pretty big ideas.