What is the central idea of William Blake's poem "The Tyger"?

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The Tyger by William Blake is a poem exploring the nature of the Creator. Throughout the poem, the speaker lists attributes of the tyger and then poses a question about how such a thing could be made. For example, in the fourth stanza, the speaker says:

What the hammer? what the chain,

In what furnace was thy brain?

What the anvil? what dread grasp,

Dare its deadly terrors clasp!

Here, he is questioning what it would take, and who would be able, to create something that strikes fear into those who see it.

The fifth stanza closes on this line: "Did he who made the Lamb make thee?" This question helps to illuminate the purpose of the poem, as we understand that the speaker is struggling to believe that a Creator who could fashion something as peaceful and sweet as a lamb could also create something as powerful and deadly as a tiger.

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"The Tyger" was one of the poems contained in William Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience, published in 1794. In this poem, Blake is trying to understand the nature of the Creator by examining his creations. Thus the central idea is religious, striving to grasp the nature of the divine.

The poem is essentially a series of queries address by the narrator to the Tyger. The narrator observes the sheer magnificence of the Tyger and its "fearful symmetry" and wonders what sort of Creator would have the courage and skill to create such an animal.  The narrator also wonders whether the same Creator could have created the fierce Tyger and the meek and gentle Lamb. 

Some critics see this contrast as essentially dualistic, a speculation on whether there must be two opposing divine forces, one harsh or even evil and the other benevolent and gentle, to account for the presence of both good and evil in the world. 

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