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What Do You Learn About The Changes Occurring Throughout The Romantic Period In Blake's Poems?

1350 words - 5 pages

William Blake lived from 1757-1827, and his work was published in the late eighteenth century. It was during this time that many political and social changes were developing in Britain. Blake lived his life as a poet through the Romantic period in history. In this essay, I will first examine two poems by Blake, 'The Tyger' and 'London. I will be looking at how the themes, imagery, structure and form suggest how Blake was affected in his writing.'The Tyger', which may be Blake's best-known poem, is about the force and fearfulness of the tiger, as a symbol of God's power in creation. The structure of the poem is very precise, with the 6 stanzas each having 4 lines and 2 rhyming couplets, with a steady rhythm throughout the poem. The last stanza is a repeat of the first, but not exactly, one word is changed, to 'dare', in the last line:'Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?'This change makes us question what it was in the poem that changed our view or Blake's view, and made us think of the creation of the tiger as daring. This is the form of the poem throughout, asking questions rhetorically about the creation of the tiger; where was the tiger created, who could've formed it and how. The main question that the reader asks of the poem is what the tiger represents, and so what could it mean to 'frame' the tiger's 'fearful symmetry'? To answer the latter question, it could be said that the tiger, like all other creatures, has been 'framed' by God, suggested in the poem by words like 'heaven' and the rhetorical line in the fifth stanza:'Did he who made the Lamb make thee?'Another idea is that the one that 'frames' the tiger isn't God but the artist and the poet in their work. Blake could be writing about the role of the writer, and the writer or artist's problem with what they cannot 'capture'. Therefore the tiger in the poem is a symbol of a power that can't be framed, controlled or captured. We can use the above quotation on this idea also; Blake wrote 'The Lamb' five years before 'The Tyger', so in the way that he portrayed the tiger, he had also 'made the Lamb'.It was a fairly common idea or belief in the Romantic period that only art could bring us closer to 'the inexpressible', some even going as far as to compare the artist to God, because the artist, or writer or poet, creates his own reality the way God created the world. Blake managed to get this across in 'The Tyger', not just in capturing the animal, but also in talking about the creation of it, and how could it be framed.In the poem 'London,' it is not hard to see how much Blake was affected at the time by the appalling state the city and its people were in. It can be read as an attack on the establishment of the government, the church and the monarchy, but is essentially about man's lack of freedom at this time and its cause.This is seen in the beginning of the poem, when Blake talks of 'each charter'd street.' That the streets themselves weren't free to ordinary people is disgraceful, so Blake...

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