William Blake’s “The Tyger” and “The Lamb” are both very short poems in which the author poses rhetorical questions to what, at a first glance, would appear to be a lamb and a tiger. In both poems he uses vivid imagery to create specific connotations, and both poems contain obvious religious allegory. The contrast between the two poems is much easier to immediately realize: “The Lamb” was published in a Blake anthology entitled “The Songs of Innocence” which depicted life through the childlike eyes of the naïve, whereas “The Tyger” was written six years later and included in the Blake add-on anthology “The Songs of Experience” which depicted life in a much more realistic and painful light. Both poems share a common AABB rhyme scheme and they are both in regular meter.
In “The Tyger,” Blake paints a picture of a powerful creature with eyes of fire and dread hands and feet. He asks rhetorical questions with a respectful awe that is almost fearful, and makes the setting more foreign to the reader by including imagery like “the forests of the night.” By contrast, Blake’s portrait of “The Lamb” is one of innocence and childlike wonderment. “The Tyger” is almost an examination of the horrors in the world while “The Lamb” examines only that which is “bright,” “tender” and “mild.” The use of words like “night,” “burning” and “terrors” in “The Tyger” create quite a contrary image for the reader than that of “The Lamb.”
Another major difference between the two poems is the clarity of the author’s intentions when he poses rhetorical queries to the two animals. When he asks “The Tyger” “What immortal hand or eye; Could frame thy fearful symmetry,” he makes references to a blacksmith-like creator, but he is not so much asking whose hand or eye (the obvious answer being “God’s”) - rather, he is asking “what sort of?” Blak...