Updated: Jul 21
The poem 'The Tyger' was written in the collection Songs of Experience published in the year 1794. William Blake goes to a tremendous extent in order to describe the creation of 'Tiger'. He uses the spelling ‘TYGER’ instead of ‘TIGER’ to enrich the poetic beauty. All through the poem he questions the creation and the authority i.e. the creator. The first and the last stanza are the same, with a slight difference. This helps to set a picture for the readers till the end and it almost helps the temperament to remain with them for quite a long period even after reading it.
Tyger Tyger, burning bright,
In the forests of the night;
What immortal hand or eye,
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
In what distant deeps or skies.
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand, dare seize the fire?
And what shoulder, & what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?
What the hammer? what the chain,
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp,
Dare its deadly terrors clasp!
When the stars threw down their spears
And water'd heaven with their tears:
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?
Tyger Tyger burning bright,
In the forests of the night:
What immortal hand or eye,
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?
POEM SUMMARY: The Tyger Poem Summary
In the first stanza, he pictures the tiger in a forest at night. He portrays its vibrant colour in the mid of dark woods. He questions to it (the Tiger), who created such a majestic body feature of it, “fearful symmetry”. He also states that the creator must be with immortal hands and eyes to have such ability.
In the second stanza, the poet questions the inspiration of the creator. He focuses on the fiery eyes of the tiger. The poet is astonished by its color and stature. He questions, which wings did aspire him to create such a wonder and what type of hand has the power to seize such ‘fire’.
In the third stanza, he adores its physique. He illustrates its shoulder as an art; he in Marvel questions the ligaments of which its heart is made of. He feels terrific by thinking of such nuances along with its heat beat. (He sounds passionate towards it.) He calls its hand and feet ‘dread’. (Could there be any word suiting it?)
In the fourth stanza, he astonishes the metal work techniques that the creator has used in its (Tiger) production. With the terms he has used like, ‘hammer, chain, anvil’ one could get the idea of the poet relating the creator with smith qualities, this may be because of the steel power of the tiger. He connects the process of it (creation) with dreadfulness and terror.
In the fifth stanza, he goes a step higher. He asks whether God would look at his splendid creation which is shining in the dark as the stars from heaven water(v) like spikes and tears. He questions with such amazement, is it he who made the innocent lamb created the furious Tiger?
The sixth stanza is the repetition of stanza I, but with a slight difference. He who addressed the creator in the first stanza is now praising his bravery of him to create such a magnificent, ferocious yet exquisite creature.
~ Literpretation Team for Education