Examine Blake's twin poems "The Tyger" and "The Lamb" in regards to "two aspects of God and two states of man."

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Two of William Blake's poems, "The Tyger" and "The Lamb", can be described as "twin poems". The poems can be interpreted to play off each other as mirrors of each other which show different aspects of one being. Historically, a tiger and a lamb have been symbols of opposites. Therefore, these poems can be aligned in the same way.

The poem "The Lamb", Blake describes a creature which is looked upon with honor. The lamb was created by another named the same "The Lamb" or God. It was by God's hand that the lamb was granted life. The description of the lamb includes words such as "soft", "tender", and "bright". The lamb is a reflection of God himself. Created in His image, the lamb represents the children of the world given God himself became as child so as to live on earth.

Therefore, the poem holds both aspects of man and of God. The aspect of man is that God created life, His children, and named them after himself, His lambs. The state of man detailed in the poem refers to man as a child, "meek and mild".

The poem "The Tyger" is very different from its sister poem. The Tyger is questioned regards his being a creature of God. The poem depicts terminology which evokes fear. The Tyger is described using the following words: "fire of thine eyes", "dread", and "terrors". The narrator finds it hard to believe that the Tyger was created by the same hand of God which created the Lamb:

What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

The aspect of God in the poem refers to the questioning that God could have created something so feared- so unlike the loved lamb. The state of man depicted in the poem refers to the concept that God made man and man has been allowed the free will to become what he wishes.

These two poems mirror each other in regards to how each was created- by God. Regardless, the speaker of each seems to question how God could have created something which could evoke fear in man (the Tyger) instead of evoking the feeling of comfort (the Lamb). One could interpret the poems in such a way that shows God created man and what happens after their creation is left up to the path which man decides to take.

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