Creating Blake's Tyger Essay

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Creating Blake’s “Tyger”

The Eighteenth-century British Romantic, William Blake, was an accomplished painter, engraver, and illustrator during his lifetime, but is best remembered for his poetry. Though Blake’s genius was generally dismissed by the public of his own era and he died with little acclaim, he has since been regarded as one of the greatest figures of the Romantic Movement. Whether with paint or pen, Blake is renowned for his ability to create works of art which, over the years, have succeeded in both amazing and perplexing his audience. “The Tyger,” from his 1794 “Songs of Experience” collection, is one such poem whose elusive meaning is widely debated. The work becomes problematic for readers since, when
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While other “immortals” are created in literature, these two options seem most logical to address first. While this initial step, recognizing the dual meaning of “immortal,” seems fairly obvious, it is often overlooked. When it is called into question, however, the mention of the creator as one who is immortal sparks theories that have been debated for as long as critics have been struggling to break down Blake’s complex work. Burton Raffel, a professional translator and English professor was challenged with the onerous task of rewriting the poem in French. He points out in his 2002 article, published in the Literary Review journal, that many people, at first glance, misinterpret the possibilities for the meaning of the word, “immortal,” by failing to recognize the inherent duality. Raffel asserts initially that, “The word ‘immortal’ assures us, if nothing else does, that God is the undeniable power of whom Blake speaks,” but upon further analysis, Raffel refutes his own argument by asking, “Why then does [Blake] put the matter interrogatively? Is it because he wishes to shed doubt on God's powers? Or to advocate some other ‘immortal’ presence as the true power behind creation?” (632). It is the latter sentence that speaks to the actual nature of the poem; Blake provides evidence that should not so quickly be disregarded as to whom the passage may refer. By presenting the reader with “immortal” as the first criterion for the tyger’s creator, Blake
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