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William Blake - The Tyger


William Blake

William Blake is both a visionary poet and a visual artist. He was considered as a sort of prophet (with supernatural qualities), he was a rebel who rejected contemporary institutes and supported one of the most important revolution of that period: French Revolution.
Blake was actually concerned with the political and social problems of his time: he supported the abolition of slavery, and the egalitarian principles of French Revolution. Later he focused his attention on the evil consequences of the Industrial Revolution.
His idea of imagination is a sort of ‘Divine Vision’; it means ‘to see more, beyond material reality, into life of things’. So the poet becomes a sort of prophet who can see more deeply into reality and who also tries to warn men of evils of society.

The Tyger

(Songs of Experience)
This poem is built on several rhetoric questions, used to remind or underline ideas.
This poem has got a hammering rhythm and the language is quick and simple.
The poem is addressed to the Tyger (‘Tyger! Tyger!’). The Tyger is a supernatural creature, produced by a creator in the same way of humans (from the Bible). This creation is manual and ‘dreadful’ because it is so magnificent and great that is frightening.
The figure of the creator is related to a blacksmith as in the mythology Vulcano and as Dante imagined in Divina Commedia.
The creator and the Tyger are related to concrete nouns: this is important to underline the fact that the Tyger is a manual/material product, not spiritual or intellectual.
The Tyger has a ‘fearful symmetry’ (oxymoron):
Fearful= negative, frightening, idea of fear, mystery
Symmetry= positive, harmony, order, beauty, perfection
Considering Blake’s theory of opposites (life is made on opposites and it is a tension to their balance), the Tyger is something extremely positive: it is the reconciliation of opposites, that gives perfection, balance to the chaos, it is a sort of utopian perfection.
‘The Lamb’ expresses an idea of innocence, purity, sacrifice. It appears in the poem to underline that the creator, who creates the Tyger, is the same who makes the Lamb, so the creator is able to create both good and evil.
This poem has a circular structure, in fact the first and the last stanza are quite the same, except for one word: ‘could’ (in the first) which become ‘dare’. ‘Could’ expresses ability, skills while ‘Dare’ means ‘to go beyond limits’, it underlines the boldness of the creator’s imagination.
‘The forest of the night’ is the darkness, the chaos before God’s creation.
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