The poem The Tyger by William Blake is written in the praise of the Creator – God who has made such a fierceful creature. However, it also reflects the poet’s amazement over the Creator because He is the same who has created the lamb which is quite opposite in nature to the tiger.
The poem has been divided into 6 stanzas having 4 lines each. The rhyme scheme of the poem is AABB. The first stanza is repeated in the end except for the change from Could frame to Dare frame.
The poet uses the word ‘Tyger’ for tiger probably because in his times it was the correct spelling of this word.
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The Tyger Summary and Analysis
In the first stanza, the poet says that the tiger is burning bright in the forests of the night. The line means that the tiger which is in the forest is burning like fire or in other words looking like yellow fire in the dead of night. The burning bright also reflects the tiger’s bright yellow colour that makes it look fierce.
In the third line, the poet raises a rhetorical question, which is the immortal hand or eye which is capable of framing or building its fearful symmetry. The poet, in a way, appreciating the power of God who can create such a fearful structure and bear its appearance. The man can neither create it or can bear its appearance due to fear.
In the 2nd stanza, the poet talks about the eyes of the tiger. He wonders from which distant (he means infinite places) the fire has been brought and put into the eyes of the tiger.
The fire has been brought either from skies (i.e. either sun or heaven) or from deep oceans (means either core of the earth or hell) because it can not be an ordinary fire of the world but divine one which makes the eyes of the tiger so fierce.
In the third line, the poet wonders which were those wings that took Him to those distant areas. Similarly which were the hands which dared to catch that divine fire. So, in the first two lines, he appreciates the fire and in the 3rd and 4th lines, he appreciates the Wings and Hands of the Creator.
In the third stanza, the poet talks about the heart of the tiger. He wonders what kind of shoulders and the art the Creator would have which twist (give shape) the muscles or ligaments of tiger’s heart. Here the poet is praising the power and amazing art of God which helped Him creating tiger’s heart.
In the third line, he is amazed by thinking how powerful Creator’s hands and feet are which made Him stand in front of the tiger when its heart began to beat. In this stanza, the poet seems to praise the Creator’s physical power, daring nature and His jaw-dropping art.
In the fourth stanza, the poet praises the brain of the tiger. He wonders which hammer, chain, anvil and furnace the Creator would have used to create the brain of the tiger. These tools are used by the iron-smith to create solid and heavy items.
The brain of the tiger, for the poet, is no less than iron. Hence he thinks about the divine tools used to create the brain of such a deadly animal. Again the poet wonders how powerful would the grasp of the Creator which could hold the deadly brain of this animal.
In this stanza, the poet tends to compare this deadly animal to the lamb which is meek, innocent and quite opposite to the former. In addition, there is also a reference to a Biblical incidence as mentioned in Paradise Lost by John Milton.
The poet says that when God created the tiger, the stars (here means Satan and his followers) which were in war with Him were so frightened by its (Tiger’s) sight that they accepted their defeat and threw down their weapons and made the sky wet with their tears.
In the third line, the poet wonders would God have smiled after creating Tiger as it was beyond words for Satanic forces. He again thinks is He the same who created the lamb because the latter is quite innocent and meek while the former is deadly enough to frighten Satan.
The final stanza is a repetition of the first one. The only word changing here is ‘dare’ instead of could which is quite significant. In the first stanza, the poet seems to be less amazed by the powers of tiger and God but after going through all the features of the tiger he wonders it is only God who can dare to create such an animal.