Compare the poems "The Lamb" and "The Tyger" by William Blake.

William Blake's poems "The Lamb" and "The Tyger" both appear in Blake's Songs of Innocence and of Experience. Both poems focus on an animal in order to examine God's nature. In "The Lamb," the narrator describes pleasant features of the lamb, such as its "tender voice," and asserts that the lamb's Creator is a lamb. In "The Tyger," the speaker describes the fearful qualities of the tiger and asks, "Did he who made the Lamb make thee?"

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Blake's poem "The Lamb" consists of two stanzas, each one of ten short lines. The lines are six or seven syllables in length, with slight variations from trochaic trimeter. Lines 9 and 10 are repetitions of 1 and 2, while lines 12 and 20 repeat lines 11 and 19. The lamb of the title is apostrophized and questioned:

Dost thou know who made thee

The rhetorical nature of the question is emphasized by the lack of a question mark. The diction is simple, even childish, with words such as "Softest," "bright," and "tender" stressing the lambs innocence and purity. The second stanza provides the answer to the question. God, who became the Lamb of God, his own son, made both the lamb and the child who addresses the lamb. The poem ends with a blessing.

In "The Tyger," a very different type of animal is apostrophized and questioned. The tiger is also asked a rhetorical question of the same type:

What immortal hand or eye,
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

The poem is only four lines longer than "The Lamb"...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 765 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team