When do we change? When do we change from being the innocent children God sent into the world, to the corrupted ones that leave the earth? William Blake’s ‘Songs of Innocence and Experience examine these different states. Blake wanted to show the two contrary states in the human mind. The Lamb and the Tyger are just vehicles for Blake to express what he feels happens to people as they grow, develop and eventually become perverted by the world around them.
Blake’s background and occupation greatly influenced the style and content of his poems. He lived during the 18th Century when the church was beginning to lose its grip on British society; science was rising up against the church. Blake was part of a group known as the Romantics. He began to challenge the church believing that an individual could discover God without going to church. His poems ‘The Lamb’ and ‘The Tyger’ reflect this, as he is telling how God created these two animals and on another level how he created humanity.
‘We are called by his name’ (The Lamb)
The message that Blake is trying to convey in this line is that it is God who calls us to discover him. He is saying that no one else has the power to tell you what to believe not even the church. God and the individual are the only ones privy to this ultimate power!
His role as an engraver and artist is reflected in the details he gives about the two animals. In The Tyger he describes it as, ‘burning bright.’ He is describing it from a painter’s perspective in the way he is talking of the tiger’s colouring.
At the time Blake was writing The Lamb the French Revolution was taking place. Blake was very supportive of the revolution, as he was deeply concerned about the poor social, economic and political conditions.
‘Little Lamb God bless thee’ (The Lamb)
Blake like many of the other Romantics saw that the best things about
life were natural and simplistic. Blake felt that the social, economic
and political factors were getting too complicated and the true nature
of living was being lost. Certain people had control of these factors
and Blake thought this was wrong. Blake felt that the whole population
should emancipated and able to decide on their own economic, social
and political decisions. When writing the Lamb he was hoping that the
French Revolution would revert people back to the innocence and freedom they once had.
But as the French Revolution progressed it turned into a blood bath, which disheartened Blake. It was at this point that he wrote The Tyger.
‘Dare frame thy fearful symmetry’ (The Tyger)
Blake was disgusted with the way the people were using the revolution
as an excuse to kill. In The Tyger he talks about only God having the
power to create things of this nature. I think that in this line he is
trying to convey the fact that no human has the right to take on God’s
role. Only he has the right to create life and end it!
When I first read The Lamb and The Tyger it appeared to...