Why is William Blake famous? Provide a sample of the most famous work.

1 Answer | Add Yours

accessteacher's profile pic

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

Posted on

Blake is famous because he was a significant poet of the Romantic era who managed to publish a number of works of poetry that are technically and thematically brilliant. In addition, what makes him such an interesting character is that he was also an engraver, and produced plates of his texts, including self-illustrated drawings of the poems. What he is most famous for is his collection of verse entitled Songs of Innocence and Experience, which captures two contrary states and critically considers the stage of childhood and then of adulthood whilst also presenting the corruption in society and the way that society exerts a force upon us.

However, this was by no means his only work, and other important collections of verse he produced are The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, America: A Prophecy, and Europe: A Prophecy to name but a few. Probably one of his most famous works comes from the Songs of Innocence and Experience, and is entitled, "Tiger, Tiger":

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies 
Burnt the fire of thine eyes? 
On what wings dare he aspire? 
What the hand dare sieze the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art. 
Could twist the sinews of thy heart? 
And when thy heart began to beat, 
What dread hand? & what dread feet?

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

When the stars threw down their spears, 
And watered heaven with their tears, 
Did he smile his work to see? 
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright 
In the forests of the night, 
What immortal hand or eye 
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

Many have said that the tiger of the poem is a symbol of revolutionary energy, but others argue that this poem is a profound meditation on the origins of evil in the world.


We’ve answered 317,752 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question