Tyger as evil in William Blake’s “The Tyger” Essay
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In the poem, Blake paints a picture of a “higher power” creating the “Tyger. ” In the first stanza the central question of the poem: what “immortal” being or force could create such a creature is introduced. The “immortal hand or eye” references sight and creation by God, or some omnipotent being. As well, Blake asks how God could “frame thy fearful symmetry’ suggesting how can such a divine evil be contained? Blake uses the “Tyger” to create a sense of something big and mysterious and at the same time having some sort of energy and power.
This level of complexity requires the divine creative power of an immortal God.
The second stanza uses the word “he” in the third line again hinting the creator is God, or some “higher power. ” In the third stanza, Blake returns to the creator with descriptions of “his” omnipotence. Writing “… what shoulder, and what art” suggesting strength and skill required to create the “Tyger. ” Chase 2 The second and fourth stanzas go on to ask where and how “the Tyger” (evil) was created. In the second stanza, Blake’s use of “distant deeps or skies” could refer to nother world, possibly hell or heaven as the place the “Tyger” was created.
The image of the “Tyger” being created in such a place adds another level of mystery for the reader. Additionally, in stanza four, Blake begins to question how the “Tyger” was formed. The use of the metaphor ofa blacksmith helps the reader visualize creation. Blake’s use of the words: “hammer, furnace, chain, and anvil” are all tools used by the blacksmith. The reader feels the complexity of the blacksmith’s Job: the work is hard, dirty, hot, and rough, yet takes skill and strength.
Blake ties this metaphor into stanza two where in line two he asks how the creator “burnt the fire of thine eyes”, where burnt could mean to forge from fire. The fifth stanza most clearly leads the reader to believe that there is a Christian background and basis of Blake’s poem. Line three and four most closely relates the word “he” to God by asking, “did he who made the Lamb make thee? ” Traditionally referring to the “Lamb” as Jesus Christ, the Son of God, made by God in human form. Jesus Christ was perfect and innocent.
The first two lines of the stanza serve as the reaction to his creation: beginning Blake’s link to Christian background writing, “when the stars threw down their spears, and watered heaven with their tears”, referring to the casting down ot the Angels atter Satan rebelled against The reader gets a feeling that there may have been some remorse for creating the “Tyger” (evil). Blake concludes by questioning the existence of the “Tyger”, and ties into the divinity of the creator. In the final stanza, Blake repeats the first, but with one word
Chase 3 changed: “could” is replaced by “dare”. Instead of questioning the ability of the creator, Blake is now questioning his nerve. Additionally, Blake seems to challenge the courage or strength of the creator to contain the “Tyger”. This line ties into stanza two line four where Blake asks, “what the hand dare seize the fire”, fist introducing the word “dare”. Blake is challenging God, asking how dare “He” create evil (the Tyger). In the final stanza, Blake is re-stating the central question while raising the stakes.
In the poem “The Tyger”, William Blake questions the creation and existence of evil by the use of metaphors, symbols, and relations to the Christian faith. Blake describes the creation of evil as being forged from fire in the depths of hell by the hand of the Almighty Blacksmith. The same hand that created such a divine evil also created the Lamb: soft and innocent, perfect in every way.