Critical Analysis of William Blake's Poem "The Tiger'

1393 Words Jun 11th, 2013 6 Pages
ШУМЕНСКИ УНИВЕРСИТЕТ
“ЕПИСКОП КОНСТАНТИН ПРЕСЛАВСКИ”

Факултет по хуманитарни науки Project title:

Write a critical analysis of William Blake's poem "The Tiger' paying special attention to the stance of the poetic speaker

Name: Ивелин Иванов Минков

Faculty number: 1063

Forth year English studies SHUMEN
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Firstly, few words need to be said about the tiger’s reputation as an animal, in the author’s time. Thomas Bewick’s “A General History of Quadrupeds” describes it in the following way:” fierce without provocation, and cruel without necessity, its thirst for blood is insatiable”. At that time, the word tiger had turned into a trope for fear, terror and cruelty. For instance, on the seventh of January 1792, Times compares the French cruelty with that of tigers and wolves. All this means that by penning the image of his tiger, Blake had an awful and cruel animal in mind, one of the most ferocious and bloodthirsty “…Dare its deadly terrors clasp”. This is confirmed by the horror the poetic speaker feels, when speaking for the tiger and at times even losing his grammar. Allegedly, Blake might have seen a tiger in London in the traveling menageries. Secondly, special attention is to be paid to the image behind the animal. Many literary critics believe that the tiger is a kind of a cousin of Job’s Leviathan in the book of Job. Indisputably, many a Bible commentator agrees that this Leviathan is the Evil One. Not only that, but, the poetic speaker’s depiction of the tiger evokes other images from the Bible that lead us to such conclusions. For instance, the words: “burning bright in the forests of the night” - burning bright refers to celestial beings in the Bible. The book of Ezekiel
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