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What is the summary of "The Tyger" by William Blake?

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supreetkaurbedi | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 21, 2011 at 9:51 PM via web

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What is the summary of "The Tyger" by William Blake?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted April 21, 2011 at 10:36 PM (Answer #1)

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This is a famous poem well known for its energy and pace in terms of its rhythm and meter. The poem is based around an apostrophe, as the speaker of the poem addresses the tiger of the title, asking what immortal being is responsible for the creation of such a noble, powerful and fearsome creature. The suggestion is that only a divine personage or a demonic force could have created such an ambivalent symbol of energy and change, though crucially, the question that runs through the poem remains unanswered, and the last stanza is an exact repetition of the first, emphasising the sense of wonder that the speaker feels when he sees the tiger:

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright

In the forests of teh night,

What immortal hand or eye,

Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

 

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sarahc418 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Assistant Educator

Posted April 21, 2011 at 11:56 PM (Answer #2)

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In the poem "The Tyger" by William Blake, the speaker of the poem contemplates God's power and intentions in the creation of living things.

There is also a sense of wonderment at the contrast between living beings. The speaker uses harsh and sometimes violent diction to describe the tiger and its maker:

"What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?"

This description does not detail a kind and caring God working to make a symbiotic world. Instead it gives a very industrial look at how God created the world. Blake associated the pastoral and country setting as a positive influence, so to compare God's process of creating with that of a factory worker illustrates the speaker's confusion and frustration for a higher power that would put fearsome and gentle creatures together on Earth.

Essentially, the speaker searches for the meaning of a world where good and evil both exist. This can best be seen in the following lines:

"Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?"

The contrast between the lamb and the tiger are clear. If God created a world to protect and comfort his creations, why would he place a gentle and helpless creature at the mercy of such a fearsome and powerful creature as the tiger? The speaker arrives at no conclusion and no sense of understanding at the end of the poem.

 

 

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Noelle Thompson | High School Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted April 25, 2011 at 12:24 PM (Answer #3)

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This question has been previously asked and answered on eNotes.  Here is a link for you:  http://www.enotes.com/william-blake/q-and-a/describe-summary-poem-tyger-detail-82563

Noelle Thompson

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