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Examine Blake’s twin poems ‘The tyger’ and ‘The Lamb’ as ‘two aspects of...

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hollyhocks2u | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 1, 2010 at 8:52 PM via web

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Examine Blake’s twin poems ‘The tyger’ and ‘The Lamb’ as ‘two aspects of God and two states of man’.

Blake’s twin poems ‘The tyger’ and ‘The Lamb’

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howesk | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted November 2, 2010 at 2:58 AM (Answer #1)

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Blake published "The Tyger" in his collection entitled Songs of Experience, and "The Lamb" in his collection entitled Songs of Innocence. Generally, the two natures depicted in the poem can be described as savagery and innocence.

Describing God in terms of these two words is simple. Both poems wonder at creation. In "The Tyger" the central question is "What immortal hand or eye/could frame thy fearful symmetry?" This is saying, basically, what could possibly have created such a powerful creature? "The Tyger" points out the powerful nature of God, and even questions if possibly the devil could have made such a brutal, fiery creature as a tiger.

"The Lamb" also relates to creation, but in a different way. Instead of asking who made the lamb, the narrator is telling the lamb who made him/her. The lamb's gentle nature is how God is usually depicted in Christianity, especially by Jesus.

The two aspects of man depicted in the poems are experience (usually seen as corrupt or evil during the Romantic period) and innocence. "The Tyger" shows the experience side of man by referring to war: "When the stars threw down their spears
And water'd heaven with their tears:
Did he smile his work to see?"
 and industry: "What the hammer? what the chain,
In what furnace was thy brain?"

In "The Lamb" the narrator remarks that Lamb and Man are both made in God's image and called by God's name. "He is called by thy name,
For he calls himself a Lamb:
He is meek & he is mild,
He became a little child:
I a child & thou a lamb,
We are called by his name"

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