What is the theme of symmetry (or duality) in Blake's poem "The Tiger"?
This is of course perhaps Blake's best known poem, and it is rules by symmetry - between stanzas, between lines and within lines. The most important question to think of when approaching this poem however, is what does the tiger represent, and what might it mean to try and "frame" the tiger's "fearful symmetry"?
The poem suggests two answers and thus proposes a theory of the human and the divine. One approach would be to think that the tiger, like all other beasts and like man himself, has been "framed" by God in his act of creation. However, another way of examining the poem would argue that the responsibility for "framing" the tiger - in the sense of converting him into a work of art - rests not with God but with the poet - and thus we can see this poem being about the role of the poet and his relation with the "untameable" materials of imagination with which he works. Thus some critics that the tiger is a symbol for energy, for a power which, while in one important sense 'symmetrical' - that is to say, perfectly formed - is also beyond all framing or control or capture.
It is this symmetry that Blake is exploring in this amazing poem in a way that explores the tiger's "symmetry" but also transcends it.