The Sound Devices Used Within The Tyger Poem

Categories: Poems

The Tyger, composed in 1974, is one of both simpleness and mystery. Within this poem composed by old English William Blake, there are 13 complete questions within this brief 24 line work. Though many literary analysts have actually tried to forge a significance from this work, not one style has a more appropriate stance than any of the others. One clear symbol within the piece is the Tyger, who represents some form of wicked entity, rather perhaps Satan himself. One possibility for the style is that the poet is questioning why God would produce such an evil being.

This can be exhibited in the very first stanza and last verses, where the word "could" is changed to "attempt", suggesting a worry of such haunting animal. The concerns themselves can be thought about sound devices, as they trigger the piece to be written in a fragment-type state, as the only constant in this piece is its meter. The poem has a fantastic flow, with there being approximately two strong syllables per line, for instance, in line 13: "What the hammer? What the chain? ", where the two heavy syllables are "hammer" and "chain".

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This produces a sense of strength midway through each line, and at the end of each, and provides it a terrific sense of metric value. There are very few metric variations within the piece, with the just evident one being the variation in line 19: "Did he smile his work to see? ". This offers the work a sense of superficiality and absence of depth due to its consistency.

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Eventuallies in the poem it handles a hymn-like quality, especially in the lines 13 through 16: "What the hammer?/ What the chain?/ In what heating system was thy brain?

What the anvil?/ What fear grasp Attempt its deadly fears clasp?" These lines, when read loud, release a ceremonial feel, as though this "Tyger" is some type of god or idol that ought to be feared or worshipped-- or both. This metric stand point helps communicate the significance by exposing the reader to the main subject, the Tyger, is a simple to follow existing of words. It helps the piece sound smoother and again relates back the chant-style that the poem follows. Moreover, another strong sound gadget used in this piece is repetition.

There are two large forms of repetition used for emphasis, with the first of which being the common repetition of words to create an importance on the subject. For example, in the very first line, the author writes “Tyger! Tyger! Burning bright. ” The use of both repetition and exclamation marks signify the vast importance on the subject of the Tyger, whether this is a figurative image or a literal being. They force the reader to focus more upon the repeated subject and magnify it more clearly than the unrepeated words and phrases in the piece.

The other use of repetition in this work is the repetition of an entire stanza. Both the first and last stanzas are exactly the same, excluding the variation of the words could and dare. This repetition again is an attempt to create a strong sense of definitiveness within the text. It makes the reader look back and pay close attention to what was actually said, and how the two words changing have created a result in two different meanings to the sentences. As well as repetition and meter, rhyming is also used effectively in this poem.

Blake follows an AABB rhyming scheme, and never varies from this concrete form. This lack of variation could be an attempt to do just about anything, but the best guess is that his failure to break from this rhyming scheme is his effort keep the reader constantly focused on what is being said and pondered, as opposed to forcing them to become distracted by an error in form. Another note that should be added is that, as mentioned earlier, the rhyming gives this poem an incantation–like feel to it, as though it were more of a prayer or song that should be read than a poem itself.

Some examples of this are the use of the rhymes “night” and “bright” (1 & 2), “art” and “heart” (9 & 10), or “beat” and feet” (11 & 12). These rhymes, much like the meter mentioned earlier, give the poem a great flow and force the reader to focus a little more clearly on the defining rhymes as though they themselves were the subjects to be studied. Alliteration is used quite frequently in Blake’s work, and is apparent in nearly all of the stanzas. Some clear examples of this sound device are "burning bright" (1) or "distant deeps" (5).

These alliterations only further add to the hint at a prayer–like state of the poem, but also go on to help the poem have a smoother rhythm and flow. They are evident throughout the entire piece, and do tend to get quite a bit repetitive at times, but are always used effectively and to put strong emphasis on whatever is being alliterated. These alliterations point more directly towards the specific ideas mentioned earlier, and are Blake’s stabs at again creating a larger focus on the words selected.

This is can be easily compared to “highlighting” words read aloud, as the audience and reader will take mental notes of them as they are spoken, and refer back to them when questioning the idea and theme of the poem. Though both assonance and consonance are not completely un-evident in the piece, they are never used to convey any form of meaning or to add any depth to the piece, but rather they both blend to help the writing have smoother flow and not seem as “choppy” as it would without these sound devices. Because of this, these don’t particularly focus on anything to help convey any specific meaning.

Updated: Apr 19, 2023
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The Sound Devices Used Within The Tyger Poem. (2016, Dec 09). Retrieved from

The Sound Devices Used Within The Tyger Poem essay
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