“The Tiger” and “The Lamb” were both poems by William Blake. In this essay I am going to compare the two poems. Blake as a child was an outcast, and didn’t have many friends. He was educated from home by his parents and fond sociability difficult.
His family believed very strongly in God but did not agree with the teachings of the church. During his lonely hours Blake often read the Bible. He had a lot of free time to think about ideas reflect on life, and to strengthen his imagination. You could find a lot of biblical discourse in his poems. By the time he was an adult his active imagination allowed him to create vivid poetry and paintings, finally sent him mad! Blake published twp very famous books of poems of “Songs of Experience” and “Songs of Innocence”.
Poems from the “Songs of Experience” are all about the God who brought all the evil and suffering into the world. The poems from the “Songs of Innocence” are about the redemptive God of the New Testament, like Jesus. “The Lamb is from the “songs of Innocence”, and “Tiger” from the “Songs of Innocence”.
“The Lamb” is the contrasting poem to “The Tiger”.The main question that I feel that Blake is asking in the two poems is that how can the same God make such a vicious animal and also make such an innocent animal. In “The Tiger” the God in it is strong, dark and sinister. He is described as a dark blacksmith. The next quotation shows this. “What hammer? What chaindare its deadly terrors clasp”?This comes from the end of verse four. The mention of tools and the dark line at the end gives me the image of a God working in a hot and fiery hell.
This image would have reminded readers of the factories of the industrial revolution. Blake in verse four is all questions, to show that there is a lot of confusion in the verse. In “The Lamb” the poem is very well structured. In the first verse it has the questions and in the second verse it has all the answers. If you were only to look at the poem briefly you would believe it was a children’s poem. You would think this because of the simple vocabulary, and also if you notice, the poem uses soft alliteration “little lamb” this would give it a much softer feel to the poem, and so therefore some people might mistake it for a children’s poem. Blake was a very holy person.
He often out biblical discourse into many of his poems. I found some discourse in “The Lamb” the next quotation shows this. “He is meek, and he is mild”This quotation is from the New Testament, where God was forgiving, where was in the Old Testament God was believed to punish people for their sins.
The fact that there is biblical discourse in “The Lamb” is inspiring and gives as a sense of hope. The lack of biblical discourse in “The Tiger” gives the reader a sense of lack if reprieve, lack of hope “prison” of the world and all the terrible social injustice going on, like the French and Industrial Revolution which Blake felt were both negative. The Industrial Revolution because people were forced to work in very bad conditions. The French Revolution because thousands of people were killed by the guillotine. Another refences that “The Tiger” is an evil creature is the Greek myth of Prometheus.
“The Tiger” is almost described like a Sun “burning bright” by Blake. This use of imagery reminds the reader of Prometheus who was sentenced to eternal torture (being pecked at by an eagle everyday) by the Gods because the stole fire from them, and gave it to the people. The creator of the tiger must be a rebel or God like Prometheus. Thus links to the image of hell. Suggests that the creator might be Satan. Also this links to French Revolution, the revolutionaries where known as Tigers.Blake uses a lot of visual imagery in the poem to convey his message to the people.
In “The Tiger” the nobles fought back against the French republic in the French Revolution. Or it could be a reference to the original battle between good and evil. Where the angles threw down their spears towards Satan. The next quotation shows this “when stars threw down their spears and water the heavens with their tears. At the time when Blake wrote his poem, the industrial revolution was going on, and because of his imagery you could almost hear the banging and clanging of the machines and the battles of the French Revolution. The next quotation show this “What the hammer what the anvil” This reminds us of a blacksmith, banging on the anvil with the hammer, like the noise of the machines was making in the Industrial Revolution.
If you want to look at the structure of the poems you will be able to see that “The Tiger” is written in quatrains and “The Lamb” written in longer verses. The rhythm of “The Tiger” to me feels like the rapid beating of the heart beating suggesting the reader is scared. The long slow few verses in “The Lamb” reminds me of the slower heart beat when you are calm, and relaxed. The fast beating rhythm could also mean that use to scare the reader who is reading the poem or it suggest the marching of the soldiers in the French Revolution. Coupled with the picture of hell it would really scare people in Blake’s time because the tiger was a new creature then, and also they were very superstitious. A newspaper at the time reported how an English aristocrat had been mauled to death by a tiger. The article included a description of the burning bright eyes of the beast and mentioned its fearful symmetry.
(Is this where Blake got his ideas from?) I think that the message Blake is trying to give is that life is very unfair. He was very angry about social injustice that is why there are so many refs to the Industrial and French Revolution. He does this because he wanted something the readers of his time could relate to, and also to show how he felt about the Revolutions. “The Tiger” is fifteen questions, and no answers.
While “The Lamb” has seven questions, and answers to all of the questions. Maybe he is trying to say that the world is a very confused place, and no one knows any answers.There is usually an opposite poem from the other book. In this case “The Lamb” is the opposite of “The Tiger”.
Before you even read the poem you can tell by the title that they are opposite. The tiger is the predator, and the lamb the prey of the tiger. “The Tiger” brings the mood of power, dark and dangerous.
The next quotation shows this “Burnt the fire in thine eyes”This sentence has fire in it like hell it is hot, and sweaty. India is also hot and sweaty, where the tigers come from. The Lambs brings the mood of calm, reassuring, and happiness. The next quotation shows this “By the stream and over the mead” This is because to me a field with sheep and a stream only appears in dreams, and so it too is like a dream, and a fantasy of mine, and it is also a sign of hope, because in those days the industrial revolution was taking place, and fields and open space would be disappearing, in its place would be smoggy factories. This imagery by Blake I find is very effective.
Some people believe that it is a mystery, and feel that too much analysis the poem too much will spoil the impact of the poem. I personally feel that the poem is asking one question. That is “Did he who made the Lamb make thee?”And “The Lamb” I feel that it can be both simple childs poem and it can also be an English professors work. Either way I still enjoyed reading and analysis the poem!