Compare and contrast the poems The Lamb and The Tyger by William Blake

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Doug Stuva | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Blake's "The Lamb" and "The Tyger" are known as companion poems, with the first appearing in Blake's Songs of Innocence and the second appearing in Songs of Experience

The speaker of "The Lamb" is a child.  He is innocent and naive.  He perceives the lamb as a reflection of the creator.  The diction, or word choice, demonstrates the speaker's worldview:  delight, bright, tender, rejoice, mild.

"The Tyger" presents an alternative perspective.  This speaker is experienced.  He presents another side of creation and the creator.  The poem presents a similar situation--the creation of nature--from an opposite viewpoint.  The diction reveals this:  fearful, Burnt, dare, seize, "twist the sinews," dread, hammer, chain, furnace, "deadly terror clasp." 

Together, the poems present two sides of the same creator.  The tiger is a killer, but he is not evil in the traditional sense--he is just another side of creation, as well as another side of the creator. 

"The Tyger" is also more complex, reflecting the point of view.  Allusions and metaphors are abundant, for instance.