Regarding William Blake's Lamb/Tyger: What are powerful verbs used and what effect do they have on the poem?  

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pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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To me, all of the powerful verbs are in "The Tyger." They are meant to show how fearsome the tiger is.

The verbs in "The Lamb" are really much more gentle -- verbs like "made" and "gave."  The most powerful verb there is "rejoice."  This makes sense because the lamb is gentle and the poem is supposed to be soothing and to represent the good in life.

By contrast, you have all sorts of powerful and scary verbs in the other poem.  You have "burning" and "dare" and "aspire" and "seize."  All of these are powerful verbs that show someone acting aggressively.

teachersage's profile pic

teachersage | (Level 2) Educator

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In "The Tyger," strong verbs include dare, aspire, seize, twist, grasp, threw down, clasp, and then smile. These verbs convey a feeling of aggression, and raise the question, if creation is the mirror of the creator, what kind of God could have fashioned a creature as audacious, fearsome and aggressive as a tiger? The tiger seems to emerge from a God who himself is writhing with energy and aggressive force. After this pile-up of verbs, the reader might wonder what kind of smile this creator showed.

In contrast, in "The Lamb," the repeated verb "gave" and verbs such as "bid" and "tell" convey a much more benign and gentle God, one in sharp contrast to the fearsome God who created the tiger. The poem ends with a series of simple "to be" verbs which have a static, gentle quality that reinforces the description of the God who created the gentle lamb: This God is meek, not aggressive and aspiring. With the "is" and "are" verbs, we are lulled into a lullaby that communicates that God is good, kind and caring.

Taken together, the poems offer two conflicting pictures of God, one fearsome and one gentle.

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