Classics English Literature





Comparison and Contrast of William Blake’s Poems

The poems “The Tyger” and “The Lamb” are a representation of the diverse ways in which people understand the world. They depict diverse states as well as ways of sight. The ways of sight portrayed in these poems might not be true. Although they might have been imagined, they give the poems the right poetic theatrics (Blake, 1993). Though they portray profound joy, they consistently create sorrowful awareness. The poems embrace the questions of when people change to corrupted children from the innocent ones created initially by God. The poems bring out the fact that the human mind is divided into two contrary states. People grow from innocent beings to perverted people due to influences by the environment. When God created people, He purposed them to remain innocent but they are polluted in the process of embracing their surrounding environment (Blake, 2001). This is one of the main emphases of the two poems. Although both poems embrace Christianity and are written by the same author, they are a contrast of each other.

“The Tyger” originates from “Songs of Experience” in which God is depicted as the bringer of suffering and evil in the world while on the other hand in “The Lamb”, which originates from “Songs of Innocence”, God is depicted as the redeemer of the world. This is the God of the New Testament. The evil and innocence depicted by the poems brings out the contrast between them. Imagery is one of the main styles used in the poems (Blake, 2001). In “The Lamb”, the lamb is used to depict the innocence and the spiritual nature of human beings as contrasted to their dark nature, which is symbolized by the tiger. The lamb is portrayed as an animal that embraces the child-like authenticity as well as softness. Words such as ‘the tender voice’ are used in the poem to bring out this softness. The lamb is used in the context to bring out the unity and goodness that might have existed in the world if people remained as innocent as they were created without embracing the perverseness portrayed by the environment surrounding them.

A contrast to the world depicted by “The Lamb” is the world depicted in “The Tyger”. The tiger in this case is used as symbol of the evil that exists in the perverted world in which people have lost the innocence they were created with. The tiger was born through an evil fire in contrast to the lamb that was born peacefully (Blake, 1993). The evil force portrayed by the tiger cannot be ignored or dismissed because it is currently in existence in the perverted world. The tiger is used as a representative of the fragmentation and destruction of the world because of the widespread evil that exists in the perverted world. Words such as fire, anvil, spears and chains are used to show the amount of evil in the world portrayed in the poem “The Tyger”. The God depicted in this poem is a blacksmith who instead of bringing good tidings to the earth brings destruction due to the perverseness expressed in the world that was created in an innocent perspective initially. The contrast between these two is enhanced by two sets of eyes that are looking art the lamb and the tiger. The first set is looking at the lamb and it sees a lot of brightness and innocence, which portray a bright world while the other set of eyes is looking at the tiger and it sees the fierceness and darkness of the tiger, which portrays an evil world.

In both poems, simple language is used but the symbolism depicted by the language is too deep such that one needs some sort of interpretation to comprehend the real meaning of the words. The rhyme used in both poems is brought out by the simple figurative language used in both poems. The figurative language is used to ask rhetorical questions, which the poet asks both the lamb and the tiger, but in real sense, these questions are posed to the reader. Some questions seem as if they have direct answers but in real sense after putting more thought to them, they might have deeper meanings, which cannot be answered with simple answers as initially insinuated (Blake, 1993). The spelling of the word tiger is done in an exotic way to show that the tiger in this case might not be the same tiger that people know. This tiger in the poet’s mind is alien and represents something else. Figurative language used in this poem tries to depict both the good and the bad sides of the tiger in that the tiger has both beauty and horror at the same time. This depicts both sides of the world in which some sort of innocence exists in the world whereas the same earth encompasses different forms of evil.

The language used in “The Lamb” is very simple and is repetitive in nature. The rhyme used in the poem is obvious to the reader and all the sentences are shortened to enhance easier understanding of the poem. This in turn helps to brings out the child-like authenticity that the poet wanted to bring out through the poem. The repetitive language in this case is used to bring out the song nature of the poem to be in line with its origin, which is the “Songs of Innocence”. The original thought behind this was the feeling that it would bring out the innocence of the world, which is compared to that of children. If the language used were not repetitive in nature, it would not have brought out the child-like innocence that the poet wants to bring out in the poem (Blake, 2001). The poem is however depicted as a child’s song in which the first stanza is descriptive in nature. The childlike questions asked in the second stanza bring out the naivety experienced by children, as they are innocent and unaware of the evils that exist in the world.

Both poems bring out the poets attitude towards Christianity and religion influenced by the time that he lived in. During his time, Christianity had been overtaken by science introducing evil into the environment that was created with an incident personality. Both poems try to illustrate the double nature of the world in which one nature is depicted by evil while the other nature encompasses the child-like innocence that God created the world with. In “The Lamb”, the poet’s attitude is based on children’s innocence. He embraces a child-like attitude in which innocence, beauty and good are brought out. This shows that to him, if the world did not embrace perverseness it would be as innocent as a child would and there would be no presence of any form of evil. He utilizes a child-like sound to enhance the innocence theme. The words are so simple and the way the songs sound thus making people understand that he has a positive attitude to the world depicted by the lamb as it signifies a world devoid of evil.

Contrary to this, the poet’s attitude brought out in the second poem “The Tyger” shows his disagreement with the evil that has been introduced into the world. He is at crossroads because he does not understand how the same God who created a beautiful animal with all its innocence could crate such an evil animal as the tiger, which does not have any good thing about it except its physical beauty (Blake, 1993). Its soul however is ridden with a lot of evil depicting the evil that exists in the current world after people agreed to let the world be plundered by evil. According to the poet, the outer beauty seen on the tiger shows the beauty that God initially created the world with and which would have persisted were it not for the introduction of evil into the world. The poet in this case does not introduce a child-like sound in the poem because this poem is utilized as a contrast to the other poem, which brought out the innocence of the world.

However, both poems possess similar themes, although these themes are brought out differently (Blake, 2001). One poem is about the innocence of the world while the other poem is used to contrast this goodness with the evil existing in the perverted world. Imagery is widely used in the poems but in different ways. In “The Lamb”, it is used to show the innocence of the world that God initially created while in “The Tyger”, it is used to show the good and the bad sides of the world brought about by the introduction of evil into the innocent world. The poet’s attitudes in both poems differ significantly with him embracing a positive attitude in “The Lamb” while embracing a negative attitude in “The Tyger” (Blake, 1993). Though both poems embrace Christianity and are written by the same author, they are a contrast of each other.




Works Cited

Blake, William. The Lamb. London: Spoon Print Press, 2001. Print.

Blake, William. The Tyger. San Diego: Harcourt Brace & Co., 1993. Print.

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