William Blake’s famous poem The Tyger, taken from his volume of poems Songs of Experience, presents a child’s experience of and reaction to the sight of the tiger, a mighty and ferocious animal. This song, quite unlike the companion poem, The Lamb, is no address of the child. His song is not addressed to the tiger, but rather expresses his curiosity about it and the mysterious process of its creation.
Analytical scrutiny of this child’s song brings out his innocent inquiries and fancies about this dreadful creature and its mighty Creator and His majestic operation in its creation. The child gives out his awe and wonders at the dreadful, stoutly structured, balanced body of the tiger with its flashing eyes. Again, the child speculates fancifully the invincible strength of its Creator.
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
He goes on to stipulate further how the Creator could fly, and ‘seize the fire’ of its eyes and how His rare strength and skill could twist the sinews of its heart and make it alive. Moreover, the child fancies, too, what sorts of mighty tools- the hammer, the chain, the furnace, and the anvil were put into use for the framing of the tiger’s brain. He imagines wonderingly with ‘what dread grasp’ the mighty Creator could ‘clasp’ the terrible creation.
But the tiger’s robust physical features and the intricate process and the immense power, involved in its creation, are not all. There are the child’s simple interrogations about the propriety of the creation and the Creator’s own reaction to this, after His creation of the lamb-
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?
The whole song is, thus, about the tiger- its physical feature and fierce nature and the majestic and mysterious process of its creation by the immortal and omnipotent Creator. The title, The Tyger, as such seems quite appropriate.
Also read; Summary and critical analysis of the poem ‘A Poison Tree’ by William Blake
Also read; Summary and Critical analysis of the poem The Lilly by William Blake