The Lamb And The Tyger By William Blake

2260 words - 9 pages

William Blake, a unique poet of the literary canon, is one of the most critiqued poets of all time. Having a rather unique stylistic approach to topics, especially religion, Blake seems to contradict himself in his own writing and, therefore, sparks questions in the readers’ minds on specific subjects. Two of his poems in particular have been widely critiqued and viewed in various lights. “The Tyger,” written in 1774, and “The Lamb,” written five years later in 1789, are considered companion poems due to their similar humanistic topic and stark differences of each other. Through the use of specific titillation and use of rhetorical questioning, Blake sets up an ultimatum between the two poems, creating the illusion that each creature in the poems may have different creators. In this way, Blake questions traditional Christian doctrine in such a way that initiates curiosity of the identity of the creator, or creators, and the nature of each; thus, the reader is opened up to a more broad pattern of thought.
“The Lamb” and “The Tyger” were originally collected into two separate collections of poems in one volume of work called “The Songs of Innocence and of Experience.” Identified with “the contrasting and complementary natures of youth and maturity", as stated in Steven Clark's review, “Songs of Innocence and Experience (Book)” (256), each collection of poems showed a large spectrum that ranged from a trusting nature, such as that of a child, to a more experienced standpoint, such as that of an adult. Despite being considered two separate collections, “The Songs of Innocence” would commonly have a corresponding companion poem in “The Songs of Experience” (Robert Evans, “Literary Contexts in Poetry: William Blake's “The Tyger”). “The Lamb” is part of the “Songs of Innocence,” which revolves around “the state of innocence,” as stated in Northrop Frye and Angela Esterhammer's “Northrop Frye on Milton and Blake” (379). “The Tyger,” however, is part of the “Songs of Experience” collection, which revolves more around a “ruthless, ferocious” (Northrop 380) “world of experience” that an “adult” would live in (Northrop 380). Whereas the “Songs of Innocence” are “relatively light and optimistic poems” (Milton), the “Songs of Experience” are much darker in tone and exposing the world as seen in the “Songs of Innocence.” Postulated to be unique in the fact that these two collections were the most intricate of all of his works, Blake's “artistic vision” is clearly shown in “The Songs of Innocence and of Experience” (Curran 256). Being from this volume of Blake's most complex works, “The Lamb” and “The Tyger” are commonly thought of as companion poems because of the similarity and opposition found in the two. Each of these poems, read in light of each other, seem to revolve around the topic of religion, as many others found in this particular novel do. Leading to one of the central themes of the piece, it could be considered that Blake's overlaying message in...

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