In the term "fearful symmetry," Blake refers to the problem of aesthetics or beauty. The Tyger is a beautiful animal. It has bright eyes, and it "burns bright" with intense energy. It has been carefully forged by an unknown craftsman in what is described as a blacksmith's shop. The creature is forged and "twisted" out of strong ingredients, such as molten iron and a mighty hammer.
Yet the beautiful Tyger is also "fearful" because it is a ruthless predator who uses its "symmetry"—it grace and balance and beauty—to ruthlessly destroy and devour other creatures. Why is this, the speaker wonders? Why is beauty (symmetry) used in an evil (fearful, frightening) way?
"Fearful symmetry" also harkens back to the companion poem to this one in Songs of Innocence , "The Lamb." What is the symmetry between a lovely, white, pure, innocent creature like a lamb, the symbol of Christ, who harms no one, and the lovely, lean, rippling, but fiercely predatory Tyger? Why at heart is there a seeming...
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