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

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appletrees eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Blake's poem "The Lamb" suggests that the act of wondering about God and one's origins ("little lamb, who made thee? dost thou know who made thee?") is a pursuit best left to intellectuals (the poem's narrator says "little lamb, I'll tell thee; He is called by thy name, for He calls himself a lamb") or to the cynical and worldly thinkers of the world. The naming of God as a "lamb" also hints that this poem is about Jesus in his younger aspect. The image of the lamb is childlike and pastoral, steeped in natural imagery ("gave thee life and bid thee feed, by the streams and o'er the mead."). The innocence of this poem's imagery and approach to God suggests that many people approach the subject of God's existence in an innocent and childlike, perhaps naive, manner.

This approach is a stark contrast to "The Tyger" which portrays a creature of strength and cunning ("what immortal hand or eye framed thy fearful symmetry?"), placing the questioner on a more mature and sophisticated level than the one portrayed in 'The Lamb." The God represented in this poem is not Jesus Jesus but Jehovah, a more knowing and ruthless god than the innocent lamb-like one.

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