Comparison of the Poems “The Tyger” and “The Lamb” by William Blake
The two poems that I chose to do a comparison was on “The Tyger” and “The Lamb” both written by William Blake. These two poems share quite similar themes hut are also different in the aspects of life that they address “The Tyger” concentrates on the dangers that one faces in nature as well as in life while “The Lamb” on the other hand portrays a celebration of nature as one can see it from the eyes of a child who is innocent. Using these two poems, Blake is able to explore the theme of nature, creatures as well as their creator in a different, almost contradictory ideas.
The nature in itself is a beautiful but yet a terrifying place. Blake realizes that while God may have made a gentle lamb he is also still the creator of a tiger which is a dreadful and a fearful animal. In the poem “The Tyger” he includes Satan as another creator and includes rhetorical question in passing this message. Blake states that “‘In what distant deeps or skies/ Burnt the fire of thy eyes?” (Blake, line 5/6). This statement is makes reference to both heaven and hell as he tries to establish if the tiger is a creature created by God or by Satan. In the second stanza of the poem “The Lamb”, William Blake unlike in “Tyger” establishes that the lam is an innocent creature just like a child as he states “I a child & thou a lamb” (Blake, line 17). This line may be interpreted as William Blake may have been restored to a state of innocence by Jesus. He does not question the lam as a creature that was created by someone else because of how good it is.
“The Lamb” just like children nursery rhyme has a very easy and simple structure. This poem creates a sweet a peaceful imagery that makes one see how good the lam is. We can visualize a little lamb in the field asking its mother question “Does thou know who made thee?” (Blake, line 2). He utilizes imagery in describing the lamb as woolly bright. Use of a lamb which is white gets a reader to think of heavenly colors thus one can contrast the point he is putting across that a lamb is a heavenly creation.
“The Tyger” is also a poem full of imagery. The stanzas which reads “Tiger! Tiger burning bright/ In the forest of the night” (Blake, line 1-2) creates a vision of evil that tends to happen in forest that is dark. Although it may be dark in the forest, the tigers glowing orange coat as well as black stripes can be seen in the dark. Use of tiger in itself is imagery as tiger is a predator animal and in the years that Blake wrote the poem, the tiger was seen as an evil animal. He uses contrast by using the tiger’s colors and the forest by stating that the tiger is burning bright.
Both of these poem take the shape of conversation but “The Lamb” contrasts in that Blake gives answers. While “The Lamb” is structured like a nursery rhyme, “The Tyger” has six stanzas and it does not have the answer to the question but the question is repeated throughout the poem and the question is left unanswered. This creates an imaginative effect to the reader as the reader tries to establish what kind of creation a tiger could be. Both poems also use repetition to put on emphasis. The line that seeks to know who created the lamb is repeated twice. There is also repetition in the first line in the first stanza as it also appears in the 6th stanza creating musical quality in the poem.
In conclusion, both of these poem explore different ideas of experience as well as innocence. While “The Lamb” shows the good in creation, “The Tyger” portrays the bad. He is also able to use literary devices including use of rhetorical question, imagery and repetition to bring out the themes.
Blake, William, 1757-1827. The Tyger. [London] :[Spoon Print Press], 2002.
Blake, William. “The Lamb by William Blake.” Poetry Foundation, Poetry Foundation, www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/43670/the-lamb-56d222765a3e1.