William Blake’s The Tiger sample essay
The element of Romanticism is undoubtedly present in William Blake’s The Tiger. Some among them are of the highest degree; as the sense of wonder, the contemplation of nature through fresh eyes, and an intimate sympathy with the variety of existence most distant from the reach of our intelligence. Moreover, we have the feeling expressed in the most simple words that can ever be told; in other words, a cadenced flow of natural music. The Tiger is a marvel of poetry. It combines vivid realism with a strong visionary quality. “Tiger! Tiger!
burning bright/ In the forests of the night”(Lines1-2)- literally it refers to the fiery quality of the tiger’s eyes and its glittering skin in the dark forests. Metaphorically it refers to the violent, terrifying and the destructive nature of the tiger. These ideas are developed in the course of the poem, and the process describing the creation of the tiger has about it a visionary or mystical quality which finds its climax in the lines: “When the stars threw down their spears, / And watered heaven with their tears…” (Lines17-18) The exact meaning of these two lines in this wonderful poem is again a riddle.
Symbolism is another trait of Romanticism. The tiger to Blake is a symbol of the violent and terrifying forces within the individual man. The splendid but terrifying tiger makes us realize that god’s purposes are not so easily understood, and that is why the question arises “Did he who made the Lamb make thee? ” (Line 20) Moreover, this poem is one of the most lyrical poems of Blake. The climax of the poem’s lyricism is reached in the lines which, though somewhat cryptic, effectively produce an effect of wonder and amazement: “When the stars…….
the Lamb make thee? ” (Lines 17-20) As is characteristic of the Romanticists, Blake’s un-erring feeling for rhythm and the beauty of free variation of pattern, coupled with love of clear outline and simplicity of diction, render him the crown of a pre-cursor of Romanticism. Here we do not have a hidden allegory like what was prevalent during his days; instead we have a song that sings out of common sense and common feelings of mankind in general.
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