A simple analysis and comparison of two of my favorite poems of William Blake. The theme and central idea revolving the two.

A Comparison of William Blake’s The Lamb and The Tyger 

            The poems, “The Lamb” and “The Tyger” are from William Blake’s famous collections, Songs of Innocence (1789) and Songs and Experience (1794) respectively. These books are said made as comparison to each other. The former is about, as the title itself, innocence and purity that is why it often speaks of children. The latter however speaks about what happens to humans while living in the world (experience) and to be direct, what corruption takes place in humans.

            The Lamb’s focal point is about a lamb and a child, who was asking rhetorically who could have made them. The same is with the main idea of The Tyger, which asks who could made a tiger that has a “fearful symmetry”. While the images and tone of the former presents peace and liveliness, the latter exudes darkness and seriousness. The personas of the poems are opposite as well. The lamb and the child are seen as small and naïve while the tiger is large and frightening and ferocious. The lamb together with the child could symbolize, youth who are free of blame, and the tiger could symbolize human beings who are sinful and doing awful acts.

Although the two poems show great disparity, what connect them are the idea of creation and God – a creator. In the poem The Lamb, God who “gave thee, life and bid thee feed,” is described as “meek” and “mild” and the provider of every need of His creation. In The Tyger, it asks if the Creator of the lamb is also the creator of the tiger. Since the tiger is perceived as an awful creature, how come the creator of the lamb would want to create such?  Also, it rhetorically asks if the creator of the tiger is happy with the beast he has created.

With the obvious differences of the two, does this suggest that the poems speak of goodness and evil respectively? The connotation it might bring is that the world would be a better place if God chose not to create beasts. However, I think the poem instead wants to express that God doesn’t make an evil creature. Everything he made is naturally good, but after he made them, they have the freewill to be whoever they are, with reference to the title of the collection (Songs of Experience). Although with that said, does that mean with experience humans grow to be daunting creatures like the tyger? With experience, we become cautious and be able to detest so many things in life. We learn what could probably bring happiness or harm to us, but knowing about such doesn’t guarantee anything. A sharp object like a knife could injure us, but this fact wouldn’t assure that we would never cut ourselves, right? In conclusion, I think the poems of William Blake, The Lamb and The Tyger speak of the progress of a human based upon its creator. The human brings-we, are the ones who created the ferocious and horrible tyger while God just made a tiger.

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  • Ching.Sn2n on Oct 15, 2012

    Wow…This is very helpful..thanks XD

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