The tyger is a poem that dives into the complex mind of William Blake. The analysis of this poem requires one to familiarize himself with the time period in which the poem was written.

THE TYGER (from Songs Of Experience)

By William Blake

  1. Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
    In the forests of the night,
    What immortal hand or eye
    Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
  2. In what distant deeps or skies
    Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
    On what wings dare he aspire?
    What the hand dare sieze the fire?
  3. And what shoulder, & what art.
    Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
    And when thy heart began to beat,
    What dread hand? & what dread feet?
  4. What the hammer? what the chain?
    In what furnace was thy brain?
    What the anvil? what dread grasp
    Dare its deadly terrors clasp?
  5. When the stars threw down their spears,
    And watered heaven with their tears,
    Did he smile his work to see?
    Did he who made the Lamb make thee?
  6. Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
    In the forests of the night,
    What immortal hand or eye
    Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

The Tyger is arguably the most reflective poem on the way Blake viewed the world and lived his life. This poem is full of imagery that captured the sentiment of the time period.

The Tyger and the Lamb- The tiger is the exact opposite of the "little lamb" from Blake's "The Lamb" from Songs of Innocence. The lamb is a young and innocent creature; where the tiger is full of experience. Those two animals are polar opposites; however, both are animals that Blake felt could reflect human history and thought. Blake's belief in the Christian God is seemingly unarguable. The tyger is an image of the wrath of life and God. The tyger kills for food and is untamable; where the lamb is gentle and innocent, however if it is led astray or let walk alone, it will be left to wander alone until it’s Shepard comes to call on it. The creator, God in this case, created both the Lamb and the Tiger. This creation allowed the natural order of balance in the world that the romantics came to know and worship.

Fire/Burning- There is a sense of wrath and power within this poem. Fire is both a gift and a curse to mankind. It provides man with a source of light and warmth when he needs it; however, left untamed and it will spread and cause havoc and chaos.

Nature- Like many of the romantics, Blake relies on imagery to paint the picture for the audience. There are many elements of nature in this poem; i.e. forests, skies, fires, the animals.

Gothic/Religion- Blake’s belief in God as the great creator is evident in this poem through many elements. In the fourth section, “what the hammer, what the chain,” is directed at the creation. The furnace mentioned a line after gives the idea that mankind was forged by a master blacksmith or in the Judo-Christian ideology, God. Blake also has images of the Apocalypse, as read in the “Book of Revelations” written by John in the New Testament of the Bible. The lines “when the stars threw down their spears and watered heaven with their tears,” indicates a sign of the apocalypse. In the Book of Revelations, it reads that the stars would fall from the sky.

Emotion- Blake used the Tiger and Lamb to indicate emotions. This poem can be read as Blake as the creator and the Tiger and Lamb his life or creations. Man is born into the world innocent and dies with experience. These ideals are evident in this poem.