The Poems of William Blake

William Blake’s The Tyger: Blake's Conception of God and Creation

Blake's “The Tyger” begins with the speaker asking a tiger what kind of divine being could have created it: “What immortal hand or eye / Could frame thy fearful symmetry?” There is an air of questioning throughout the poem. Each subsequent stanza contains more questions, all of which refine this first, fundamental question. From what part of the universe could the tiger’s fiery eyes have come? What sort of craftsmanship would have been required to “twist the sinews” of the tiger's heart? The speaker wonders how, once that heart “began to beat,” its creator had the courage to continue. With the image of a blacksmith, the speaker thinks of the “anvil” and the “furnace” that creation would have required. Finally, the speaker wonders how the creator felt upon the tiger's completion. The question at hand is this: what is the underlying meaning of the poem in relation to creation and to God?

Firstly, the poem is comprised of six quatrains in rhymed couplets. The meter is rhythmic and regular, and its repetitive hammering is suggestive of the blacksmith's labors while creating the tiger that stands as the poem's central image. The alliteration of the hard consonant sounds also captures the reader's attention,...

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