How does "The Tyger" represent people's attraction toward and repulsion from evil?

ichabod | Student

To answer this question, consider the poem’s central image: the tiger itself. It is a creature both fearsome and handsome.  In William Blake’s words, it is framed with “fearful symmetry.” Blake’s presentation of the tiger is not too dissimilar to popular presentations of vampires. Just as vampires are evil and yet wonderful to behold, so is the tiger in Blake’s poem. It is composed of a twisted heart, of dreadful hands and feet, and yet we can’t take our eyes off of it. We are continually compelled to look toward this horrifying image rather than away from it. We are compelled toward fear and wonder.

Besides the poem‘s compelling central image, the very meter of the poem determines that we will scarcely be able to remove our eyes from the disturbing vision being presented to us. It drives us forward and deeper into the poem’s disquieting central question, which is a question that forces us to face the simultaneously horrific and beautiful work of the creator or God force.  It forces us to reconsider the nature of God and/or the universe, so that ultimately it is not just the imagery of the poem, but instead the force of the philosophical and religious issues the poem raises, (particularly on the origin and nature of evil) that both attract and repel the reader.



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