What was William Blake's purpose for writing the poem "The Tyger?"

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William Blake wrote two corresponding sets of verses called "Songs of Innocence" and "Songs of Experience." In "Songs of Innocence," Blake looked on life as if through the eyes of a child; he presented an innocent, trusting, and optimistic viewpoint on his subjects. In "Songs of Experience," on the other...

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William Blake wrote two corresponding sets of verses called "Songs of Innocence" and "Songs of Experience." In "Songs of Innocence," Blake looked on life as if through the eyes of a child; he presented an innocent, trusting, and optimistic viewpoint on his subjects. In "Songs of Experience," on the other hand, he presented the same or similar topics from a mature, pessimistic, and even dark perspective. In this way, by showing two contrasting sides to a topic, he believed the real truth could be better perceived. 

"The Tyger" is a Song of Experience; its corresponding poem is "The Lamb." "The Lamb" presents God as the Lamb of God, an image that is sweet and comforting; the poem is written as if a little child were addressing a lamb. "The Tyger" is best understood in comparison with "The Lamb." In "The Tyger," God is presented as something like a powerful mad scientist, forging in his heavenly "furnace" a beast ruthless and deadly. The Tyger is a symbol of violence, oppression, and fear. The multiple questions to the Tyger about who made it leave the impression that the speaker is blaming God for the evil and pain that exists in the world and questioning the motives of such a Creator. 

It would be a mistake to say that Blake's purpose in writing "The Tyger" was to show that God is the source of pain and violence in the world, just as it would be a mistake to assume that Blake's purpose in writing "The Lamb" was to convert people to a belief in Jesus Christ. Blake's purpose in writing the TWO poems was to show the contrasting sides of God in hopes of developing a fuller understanding of who God really is.

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