Comparison/Contrast of “The Tyger” and “The Lamb” by Blake

Length: 3 Pages 769 Words

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 Continue...

For these reasons, despite their contrasts, "The Tyger and "The Lamb are both poems about life and creation, and both leave lasting, vivid images in the reader's mind. "The Tyger is almost an examination of the horrors in the world while "The Lamb examines only that which is "bright, "tender and "mild. Lamb is one of innocence and childlike wonderment. 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. The pastoral, idyllic images painted in "The Lamb are also in direct contrast to the more foreboding, vaguely sinister landscape which Blake creates in "The Tyger. 3 Along with the similarities the poems have regarding nature and, indeed, the nature of things, they share a common goal: to explore life from two different sets of eyes. Despite these discrepancies, both poems are extremely similar in several more obvious ways. 2 Another major difference between the two poems is the clarity of the author's intentions when he poses rhetorical queries to the two animals. Ultimately, Blake is exploring his own thoughts about good and evil, and the ability for life to be at the same time both delightful and horrifying. In "The Lamb, however, Blake is much more lucid about his theories of origin. "The Lamb is reflective of the Creator's love and inherent goodwill towards all living things, while "The Tyger is the embodiment of the ultimate power and might of the Creator's ability. They share a simple rhyme scheme, and both explore concepts of nature but expand these concepts into religious allegory and metapoetic ideas about an almighty Creator and his or her underlying reasons for creating two radically different creatures. 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 Blake is wondering what sort of powerful force could possibly have the means to create this fearsome animal.