October 19, 2015
William Blake’s “The Lamb” and “The Tyger”: A Formalist Perspective
William Blake is remarked as one of the earliest and most considerable figures in the Romantic era. He never attended any kind of formal school, however at the age of 21 he left his engraving apprenticeship and enrolled in the Royal Academy in London. It is said that Blake was influenced by the French and American revolutions. It is also said that when his brother passed he saw his body rise to the ceiling, clapping his hands with joy. Blake often talks about being able to physically see God, which implies his work is heavily influenced by religion. In ...view middle of the document...
Blake also compares how bright the lamb is to Christ, correlating that both of them are able to reflect light. In lines eleven through twelve he introduces “I” suggesting that man and animals share in the same spiritual brotherhood since we are all creatures of this earth that were created by God. In lines fifteen and sixteen Blake mentions the gentleness of the lamb much similar to a child. This is again reiterating the connection between humans and animals.
In “The Tyger”, the reader sees that Blake asks “Did he who made the lamb make thee?” Blake is now questioning the creator, because the tiger is such a violent and malicious creature he wonders why it was created. The fact that each stanza of the poem intentionally ends with a question mark and that there are many more throughout the poem, reiterates that he questions God. The reader notices that Blake opens and closes with the same stanza which is very relevant to the theme. He asks, “What immortal hand or eye could frame thy fearful symmetry?” implying the question why would God create something so foreboding? Paul Miner mentions in his criticism titled "Blake's 'Tyger' as Miltonic Beast", that in the first line of the second stanza when Blake states, “In what distant deeps or skies” that he is talking about the depths of hell and heavenly skies. Later in the poem when it says, “In what furnace was thy brain” and “Did he smile his work to see?” Blake is wondering if the tiger is aware of all the harm he is causing and that he is creating his own hell.
In order to understand each of these poems separately, you must look at both of them together. Blake wrote these one after another because they both display man’s conception of God. “The Lamb” being white and gentle symbolizes the purity in the world...