The Tyger

William Blake

About William Blake

Born in London, William Blake claimed to have visions of God as a young child. His parents learned that he was not like other children and chose to homeschool him. Blake decided that he wanted to be a painter when he was ten, and two years later, started writing poetry. Blake had radical ideas and was drawn to other nonconformists of his time like Thomas Paine and Mary Wollstonecraft. Blake wrote many collections of poems including Songs of Innocence, which was his most famous, containing the poem The Tyger.

The Tyger

Tyger Tyger, burning bright,

In the forests of the night;

What immortal hand or eye,

Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies.

Burnt the fire of thine eyes?

On what wings dare he aspire?

What the hand, dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art,

Could twist the sinews of thy heart?

And when thy heart began to beat,

What dread hand? & what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain,

In what furnace was thy brain?

What the anvil? what dread grasp,

Dare its deadly terrors clasp!

When the stars threw down their spears

And water'd heaven with their tears:

Did he smile his work to see?

Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger Tyger burning bright,

In the forests of the night:

What immortal hand or eye,

Dare frame thy fearful symmetry

Poem Intepretation

The first stanza starts by the speaker asking a tiger what kind of being could have been crazy enough to make a creature so powerful and fearful. As the poem continues, the speaker is fascinated still at how such a person could "seize the fire" or "twist the sinews of thy heart" of this vicious beast. The speaker also wonders "what dread hand and what dread feet" could have let the tiger's heart beat. The speaker then compares the creator of this creature to a blacksmith and ends by asking if the creator is happy with his creation by adding "did he smile his work to see?".
The Tyger' By William Blake


The theme of this poem is one of the handling of power and regret. The speaker wonders if the creator regrets his decision to make such a powerful creature. The creator actually uses his power to manifest in a beast that demands attention and is "burning bright," which the creator is satisfied with. This poem also touches on the evils of the world and the concept of a beautiful disaster, which the tiger represents.

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