“The Tyger" from “Song of Experience” – William Blake: analysis and themes
“The Tyger" by William Blake is composed of 6 four-line stanzas.
In the first one, the poet is addressing to a tiger which, unlike the lamb, is more a symbol, an abstraction rather than a realistic animal.
Because of its colour, the tiger is similar to a tongue of fire shining brightly in “the forest of the night”. This expression evokes at the same time a realistic setting (the jungles where real tigers actually live) but also a symbolic one: the dark and mysterious world of chaos before creation. The central question of the poem is who created the tiger but this question doesn’t recive a satisfactory answer. This question can be seen as the metaphorical interrogative of the origin of evil (why the good Creator created the evil?)
In the second stanza, the poet imagines this mighty Creator who had to explore the seas
and the skies to find the eyes of the tiger. The imagery used suggests a comparison both to
Prometheus and to Icarus.
The third stanza emphasizes the extraordinary strength of his figure who could
shape the hard heart of the tiger. The setting in which the act of creation takes place is similar to a furnace, that is realistically described in the fourth stanza, in which the Creator faces the horrors contained in the tiger’s brain.
Looking at the extraordinary result of this process, the poet wonders whether the
Creator is satisfied : ”Did he smile his work to see?”.