The Tyger

Tyger, Tyger, burning bright,

In the forests of the night:

What immortal hand or eye

Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

 

In what distant deeps or skies

Burnt the fire of thine eyes?

On what wings dare he aspire?

What the hand dare seize the fire?

 

And what shoulder, & what art,

Could twist the sinews of thy heart?

And when thy heart began to beat,

What dread hand? & what dread feet?

 

What the hammer? what the chain,

In what furnace was thy brain?

What the anvil? what dread grasp

Dare its deadly terrors clasp!

 

When the stars threw down their spears

And waterd heaven with their tears:

Did he smile his work to see?

Did he who made the Lamb make thee?*

 

Tyger, Tyger burning bright,

In the forests of the night:

What immortal hand or eye

Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

 

William Blake

 

Did he who made the Lamb make thee*: God

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17 comments on “The Tyger
  1. Profile photo of amy p says:

    The poem has many religious connotations with lexis such as ‘immortal,’ and ‘heaven,’. This suggests that the text is a metaphor for the creation of life and the author is doubting whether god created the world or it was a product of more scientific theories. Furthermore, the phrase “In what distant depths or skies,” further portrays imagery of religion and god however the phrase ‘distant depths,’ juxtaposes the word ‘skies,’ as the latter connotes imagery of heaven however ‘distant depths,’ also portrays ideas of hell and the devil. This juxtaposition continues throughout the poem with phrases such as ‘Fearful symmetry,’ as symmetry is commonly associated with beauty but fearful is associated with danger and terror. This could be Blake’s idea of questioning faith and wondering how could god make some things so beautiful however still create awful things such as a ‘tiger,’.

  2. Profile photo of Lauren McCorkell says:

    The writer of ‘The Tyger’ writes the first and the last stanza almost identically apart from the last line, changing the line from “could frame thy fearful symmetry?” to “dare frame thy fearful symmetry”. This has an effect on the reader as the first stanza seems to gently question the ‘immortal hand’ reasons for creating such a fierce creature. However, in the final stanza the word ‘dare’ almost seems angry and infuriated, implying that creating the Tyger was very wrong. The speaker of the poem is asking a fearsome tiger what could have created it, but they are biased in asking this question as they are annoyed in how he would create something so evil.

  3. Profile photo of Georgina King says:

    William Blake, the author of “The Tyger”, uses the tyger as a symbol of evil in order to express his confusion over the reasons behind the creation of evil. He proceeds to question the intentions of God by using phrases such as “Did he smile his work to see?” when discussing the creation of evil and the destruction is causes humanity.

    The structure of the poem is in 6, 4 line stanzas. These stanzas are further used to imply the poems association with religion and his purposeful questioning of the intentions of God as this would be a delicate topic within society. The 6 stanzas are used to reinforce the 6 days of creation when God is thought to have created the world; this creation would have included the creation of animals on the 6th and final day which is when the poem concludes.

  4. Profile photo of Kerry-Louise Boyne says:

    Through out the poem an idea is portrayed of symmetry between good and bad, innocent and experience and love and hate.
    The idea of symmetry is shown through the regular structure and rhyming scheme of AABB and with the poem having six stanzas with four verses in each. The poem is constantly trying to pin what actually made the world and what being would make both good and evil which links to a philisophical idea that is the creator someone of innocence that doen’t no what they are doing because of the mistake they made or is the creator someone of experience that purposfully made good and evil to balance each other out and show that people can make their own choices on life.
    I believe this poem is linked to God because of the religious lexial connotations, ‘in what distant deeps or skies’ This implies the idea of heaven and hell. Additionally, ‘what immortal hand or eye’ also proves that it’s talking about an omniscient being that’s made the world which would have links to God.

  5. Profile photo of Deana says:

    The poem ‘The Tyger’ is full of questions. The poem often deals with the issues of God. The first stanza highlights the significant question “What immortal hand or eye could frame thy fearful symmetry?” stanza two questions the tyger and about where it was created. The third stanza about how the creator created the tyger, the fourth about what tools were used, the fifth about how the creator reacted to his creation of the tyger- “Did he smile his work to see?” Then the last stanza reinforces the significant question similar to the first stanza and rather than the writer querying who created the tyger this time he asks who dares.

    By the use of the lamb throughout the poem, the write is trying to ask the reader would God create fearsome and evil, alongside gentle and pure. Likewise to creating Satan alongside his son Jesus, therefore the tyger may represent Satan, and the lamb Jesus.

  6. Profile photo of Evelina Peterson says:

    The poem ‘Tyger’ written by William Blake is full of questions concerning many religious imagery and references, especially to God and ‘the creator’. The main themes mentioned in this poem are love and hate, and good and evil. The poem consists of a number of questions, continuously asking how ‘experience’ can create such evil, and opposite to innocence. “Did he smile his work to see? Did he who made the Lamb make thee?” This connotes the contrast between experience and innocence, as ‘Jesus’ is referred to the ‘Lamb’ of God. This reference to God, as the ‘creator’ gives the idea that he may not be fully happy with the evil which he made, and the amount of destruction it causes humanity. Furthermore, the idea of symmetry is followed throughout the whole poem. “What immortal hand or eye, could frame thy fearful symmetry” is continuously repeated for effect and in order to show the balance of good and evil; referring to the look of the tiger – having two halves with both beauty and horror. The use of the word ‘fearful’ shows both beauty and destruction, and the repetition of this reinforces horrors into new ideas.

  7. Profile photo of Vicky Murkett says:

    Throughout this poem there is one theme which is constant: the questioning manor William Blake has. The first stanza begins with a question which is continued throughout in different more refined forms until the fifth stanza which has a more interrogating tone to it. In one of the lines the poet even questions God creations “did he who made the lamb make thee?”. The “Lamb” symbolizes Jesus and therefore denotes purity and innocence, however, “thee” is referring to the tyger which is seen to have experience and evil.
    The poem is built upon religion and belief. Even through the structure we can see links to religion; the six stanzas representing the six days of creation and the symmetrical and balanced nature of the poem representing good and evil which is portrayed through the repeated stanza.
    William also compares the creator of the tyger to a blacksmith, “hammer … furnace … anvil” are the tools used to created this creature which could link to how the same tools are used to make weapons. Being made in a furnace could also be referring to bein made in hell. The poet goes on to ask “Did he smile his work to see” which again questions if God did create evil but also implies he intended it and suggest he was proud.
    In the first stanza the poet states “what immortal hand or eye” when talking about who made the tyger. “immortal” already suggests a higher being and someone who has a lot of power. At the end of the poem he asks the same question but by this time he has already given indications of God and the Lamb which leads the readers to believe the immortal being is God without him being straight about it. The fact that he never directly blames God could portray how religion was very strong at the time and any questioning of God would take lots of courage which links to the last line “dare frame”.

  8. Profile photo of Sophie says:

    The Tyger
    The poem ‘The Tyger’ by William Blake has two main themes, which include religion and events taking place at time (such as the industrial revolution). Throughout the poem, it almost appears as Blake is struggling to interpret his feelings regarding the creation of the world and humanity itself. Blake’s frustration at the idea of a creator who can be both evil and good as a result of allowing there to be both good and evil within humanity, is apparent throughout. The phrase ‘fearful symmetry’ depicts how beauty and horror can often appear the same of the surface. Blake finds this idea frightening as he describes it as ‘fearful’. Overall this poem revolves around Blake’s questions surrounding God and his intentions, linked with good and evil therefore heaven and hell.

  9. Profile photo of Brooke Roberts says:

    William Blake’s poem ‘The Tyger’ uses symmerty as a big part in the poem. The actual word symmetry is used to end the first stanza ‘Could frame thy fearful symmetry?’ when adressing the tyger. This idea of symmetry and balance between the beauty and horoor relates to the tyger and lamb so different however sharing the similiarty of being made by God, who is portrayed through the word ‘immortal’ as we know God lives forever.

    Contrast of experience/innocence is later included in the line ‘Did he who made the lamb make thee?’ The comparison between the tyger, a powerful and feared animal and a lamb who is viewed as meat for the tyger emphasises the strong contrast.

    Religion is also ba huge part of the poem. Not only does in mention God and ‘immortal’ but also includes ‘when the stars threw down their spears’ which is a referance to the fallen angles.

  10. Profile photo of Meg Abery says:

    The poem ‘The Tyger’ written by William Blake was published in 1794 in Songs of Innocence. The poem ‘The Tyger’ in the songs of Innocence is the sister book of ‘The Lamb’ because they are the about similar ideas but from a different perspective. The poem has many religious connotations with lexis such as the tyger being the devil and the lamb as Jesus which illustrates the poem is showing the symmetry of good and bad in life.
    The first and last stanza is identical apart from one word “could” and “dare” which could suggest that the Blake had got more passionate and confident about the topic. The poem is Blake talking to his son. The poem follows an AABB rhyme scheme throughout the poem.

  11. Profile photo of jenna says:

    The poem “The Tyger” by William Blake was written in the times of the industrial revolution. The poet uses pairs of rhyming couplets to create a sense of rhythm and continuity throughout the poem. In addition , throughout the poem a balance between good and evil is portrayed by the comparisons of the lamb and the tyger. This comparison also demonstrates beauty and horror, and experience and innocence.

  12. Profile photo of Sofia says:

    William Blake explores the main themes of innocence and experience in the poem ‘The Tyger.’
    The poet includes a plethora of rhetorical questions in the this poem, “Could frame thy fearful symmetry?” The use of rhetorical questions has childlike connotations as children tend to ask more questions than adults. In addition to that, the repetition of the questions can be because the speaker is lacking the knowledge which can further portray this sense of innocence. Furthermore, ‘fearful symmetry’ could represent two halves such as beauty and horror therefore this idea of the balance of good and evil. The speaker is questioning this fearful ‘tyger’ who created it.
    The poem questions faith and implies that if God is so perfect why did he create something so fierce. In the fourth stanza, the poet uses nouns that relate to iron monger. “What the hammer? what the chain,” This quotation suggests that the poet/ speaker is picturing God as a blacksmith which could be seen as insulting.
    Experience is also conveyed in ‘The Tyger.’ “And what shoulder & what art,” The noun ‘shoulder’ implies strength and ‘art’ suggests knowledge which reinforces the idea of experience. The poet is stressing to the reader that you cannot have innocence without experience as well as you cannot have experience without innocence.

  13. Profile photo of Hannah Gillespie says:

    There are many different themes within the poem The Tyger. One of the themes that is focused on is religion. In Blake’s day, religious individuals and their institutions held great sway over people and questioning God’s absolute supremacy was very rare and was all but political suicide. However, Blake seems to have no problem questioning God or dabbling in religious arenas that don’t automatically assume that the Christian God is actually alpha and omega in his poem. Therefore, Blake questions who ‘could’ create the ‘Tyger’ casting aside the notion that such a being is omnipotent (all powerful). Blake also challenges he who ‘dares’ forge the ‘Tyger’ and contain/’frame’ its ‘fearful symmetry’. He is not afraid of religious visions, since his poem is full of them; however, he is not interested in simply rehashing the Christian principle. Rather, he interacts with Christian religion by challenging its assumptions. Within line 20, the word “lamb” is shown as the symbol of Jesus Christ for instance ‘the lamb of God’. As the tradition holds, animals such as lambs were sacrificed to God or gods in general until God offered his Son, Jesus Christ – his lamb – as the final sacrifice for the sins of mankind.

  14. Profile photo of Rhianna King says:

    In ‘The Tyger’ religion is a constant theme. William Blake wrote this poem during a time when religion and religious orders such as the church had huge influence over people and was hardly ever questioned; however, in this poem the speaker is questioning this belief and undermines some of the fundamental beliefs of Christians.

    In the poem, the speaker uses lots of religious lexis. In the fifth stanza, there is the question of “Did he who made the Lamb make thee?” Jesus is often referred to as the ‘Lamb’ which suggests that this is referring to the creator of Jesus, who Christians believe to be God. Therefore, this line is questioning the Christian belief of God creating the world and all of the inhabitants- including ‘the tyger’. However, for many, a lamb would create connotations of innocence and vulnerability whereas a tiger would have connotations of danger, a predatory nature or maybe darkness. This shows that the speaker is also questioning why a omnibenevolent being, like God supposedly is, would create something as innocent and ‘good’ but would also create something dark and ‘evil’ like a tiger. Hence this reflects a question still asked in our modern day society of ‘Why would God create evil and suffering?’

    In the poem, the speaker compares God to a blacksmith. Essentially, the question is how did whoever created the tiger actually do it. By asking what tools the speaker compares God’s creation of the world as similar to a blacksmith’s creations which would have been outrageous and a controversial comparison as Christians were so dedicated and in awe of God as a superior being, with no human equal. In the third stanza, a question is posed: “In what furnace was thy brain?” The noun ‘furnace’ is obviously referring to extreme heat and raging fires which is also linked to hell Therefore, this could be asking the tiger directly, if it was created in hell, showing that in the speaker’s eyes, not all of God’s creations are pure and wondrous and that actually some could be closer to the Devil’s creations.

  15. Profile photo of Rhianna Creasey says:

    William Blake structured his poem with four line stanzas. In these stanzas, he uses a variety of rhyming couplets, repition, powerful imagery and alot of rhetorical questions to make the poem stand out.

    He begins the first stanza with “Tyger! Tyger!burning bright.” In this line, Blake immediately repition to catch the reader’s eye. The word “Tyger” is a symbol of all animals or possibly represent all of mankind. In The Tyger, he uses the Lamb as a symbol of innocent mankind, where as the “Tyger” juxtaposes the lamb as the tyger is a much more wild, mysterious and ferocious animal capable of great good and terrifying evil. Blake then supports that idea by describing the Tyger as “Burning Bright” The burning bright meaning being so ferocious, being so capable, so intelligent, and having the power to do anything. Going along with the idea of the Tyger being a wild, mysterious creature, he uses powerful imagery with the line “In the forests of the night.” This imagery creats a dark, mysterious environment in which the Tyger is lurking. This suggests that the Tyger is like a creature of the night, very dark, very mysterious, and again, capable of doing unknown goods and evils.

    William Blake finishes the first stanza with a rhetorical question “what immortal hand or eye could frame thy fearful symmetry?” The immortal hand or eye Blake uses could represent God. Therefore, this could be conveyed that Blake is saying,
    that God could create or something that is beautiful, symmetrical, and also so terrifying and fearful. The God who created such a creature is fearful because he made this beautiful creature of mankind to have free will. With free will means that they can choose to do right and wrong, which is further backed up by the idea of juxtaposition between the tyger and the lamb, making the audience question themselves.

  16. Profile photo of charlie says:

    “The Tyger” written by William Blake has a rhyme scheme of A,A,B,B and has 6 stanzas to symbolise the 6 days of creation. “Burning bright creates a sensuous image. “In the forests of our night” represents our imagination. “Could frame thy imagery?” portrays there are 2 halves the same one is beauty and one is horror and asks the question of who could have created it? which is a rhetorical question. The use of the repetition of “dare” in the second stanza implies they have done something wrong.The use of the word “fire” relates to Hell. “Shoulder” represents the strength, burden, responsibility and power of the creator. The use of the words “hammer, chain, furnace and anvil” relates to a blacksmith or an iron monger and the rhythm of them suggest the banging of a blacksmith tools which links back to before the industrial revolution where there were no machines. ” waterd Heaven with their tears” portrays a fallen angel and the death of needing blacksmiths and iron mongers instead of machines. Blake may have seen the industrial revolution as the “tyger” and the predatory nature of a tiger portrays that the industrial revolution is a predator and within the poem he is referring to the strength of the revolution. The fifth stanza has mixed emotions which portrays that the world contains both horror and beauty. The last stanza is a repetition of the first stanza which Duffy used to reinforce his ideas. There are tones of awe and terror at the creator due to the complexity of the creature he has created.

  17. Phoebe says:

    The poem ‘The Tyger’ by William Blake,has a constant theme of religion. The poem was written in a time when it was very rare to question Christianity or God, however Blake questions both throughout the poem.
    Blake’s main question in the poem is, could God have created both good and evil? The Tyger represents the evil in the world, and the lamb represents the good, and Blake is wondering if God who made something so innocent as the lamb, could have also created the such evil like the tiger.
    The word ‘shoulder’ represents the strength, responsibility and burden of God the creator and Blake then in stanza three uses a metaphor to symbolise God as a blacksmith, “What the hammer? What the chain?” this also relates to the industrial revolution, which implies that Blake could have seen this as the Tiger.

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