Coexistence of Contrary States in Blake’s The Tyger Essay
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Coexistence of Contrary States in Blake’s The Tyger
Since the two hundred years that William Blake has composed his seminal poem "The Tyger", critics and readers alike have attempted to interpret its burning question - "Did he who made the Lamb make thee?" Perhaps best embodying the spirit of Blake’s Songs of Experience, the tiger is the poetic counterpart to the Lamb of Innocence from Blake’s previous work, Songs of Innocence. Manifest in "The Tyger" is the key to understanding its identity and man’s conception of God, while ultimately serving to confront the reader with a powerful source of sublimity which reveals insight on Blake’s ideal union and coexistence of the two contrary states.
The most significant underlying ideology…show more content…
There could be no better symbol to portray experience than a vicious beast - raging, inhuman, savage, and unrestrained.
Another relationship between "The Lamb" and "The Tyger" comes from the different syntax of the poems. In "The Lamb," the final stanza of the poem is mainly resolved with intransitive verbs, indicating a conjunction of subject and object - creator and created. The simplicity of the response to the question of "who made thee?" is "Little Lamb, I’ll tell thee." A syntactical and philosophical immobility is achieved. In "The Tyger," however, Blake never overcomes the dialectic of the transitive, the action of subject upon object. Indeed, in the original engraved plate of "The Lamb" not one question mark appears after any of the many interrogations, while "The Tyger" ends in a question mark (Miner 62).
Just as the New Testament God shared qualities of the Lamb in the form of Jesus Christ, the Old Testament God was a sublime force that bloodily and violently laid his wrath upon his perverted creations. In this embodiment of forms it is clear that the maker of the Lamb is quite capable of the sublime terror and punishing energy of the tiger. If such diversity of spirit is within the scope of the maker’s capabilities, the application of His various moods may be mirrored in His creations. Indeed, the central question of the poem should not be "Did he who made the Lamb make