The Tyger, in my opinion, is an intriguing poem that looks at the idea of how God is a mystery and how humanity is at a loss to fully understand his creations by contemplating the forging of a beautiful yet ferocious tiger. Blake begins the poem by beginning a conversation with the tiger and almost immediately begins his questions of who could make such a fierce creature. He wonders if God could really create such a creature or maybe it is a creature produced from a darker source. Blake also refers to the tiger as a form of art, almost as if the creator made the tiger perfectly.
The image of a blacksmith is also given through the poem as Blake refers to a blacksmith’s common tools and consistently refers to fire, giving the idea of a strong creator. Later in the poem Blake refers to another one of his poems, The Lamb, and he asks the tiger if God made it since God made the lamb. Blake questions as to how can a creature be so beautiful yet so terrifying. “What immortal hand or eye Dare frame they fearful symmetry”, he wonders how God (“immortal”) could make such an animal that’s so graceful and so prone to violence.
Blake’s question is then: how a benevolent God can create a world with horror. He is at a loss to explain the creation for this creature, “on what wings dare he aspire? ” Maybe the “wings” could be the inspiration for the creator to form such a magnificent creature. “Dare” is a strong word in the poem; Blake is astonished that God would make the tiger, which makes the argument of him being confused to the tiger’s creation even more strong. In my opinion the main theme of the poem is that we are only human, and we will never understand the mysteries of God and his works of the universe.
Blake also adds to the mystery of the creator by giving glimpses of the creator’s body parts. Blake mentions the “hand or eye”, “What dread hand? & what dread feet”, and “what shoulder”; these body parts give the reader a sense of the creator but doesn’t give the full image. In a sense, he does this so the reader can imagine the creator themselves; Blake doesn’t want to tell the reader what the creator (God) looks like. This same concept is also seen as Blake consistently questions the tiger who made him, but never gives the tiger a direct answer, which gives the readers their own interpretation of the creator.
Blake begins to worry of the horror of the tiger and actually begins to question if God really made it or perhaps a more evil immortal was behind it. Blake first questioned who created the tiger in “What immortal hand or eye”, then adds on to the mystery with “In what distant deeps or skies”. The “deeps” refers to hell, and Blake consistently refers to “fire” when referring to the tiger which gives strength to the assumption of the tiger being forged in the fires of hell. However, “skies” refers to the heavens and God. “On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare seize the fire? ” Blake again questions whether God (“wings”) or Satan (“fire”) created the tiger. Blake could assume the tiger was created by the devil because the devil is the source of evil and horror, which is why Blake is at a bewilderment of the creation of this creature because it is so beautiful but it’s so terrifying. However, Blake knows that God created all life in our world, yet he adds Satan as a possible creator because of the bafflement he witnessed of seeing the first glance of the tiger.
Blake not only talks of fire and evil when referring to the tiger, but of art and beauty as well; “what art. ” Blake mentions the word “symmetry” in the poem twice, which gives a sense of perfection to the tiger. With perfection you think of beauty, so when Blake does mention the word “symmetry” you think of the tiger as a work of art and exquisiteness. One definition of the word symmetry is beauty based on or characterized by such excellence of proportion. Blake saw this creature as a wonder of nature; it wasn’t just a vicious blood-thirsty creature.
This is why Blake sees this creature as a work of God, its beauty and symmetry make up for its ferociousness and fire in its eyes. However, Blake does not only mention just the word “symmetry” but “fearful symmetry. ” So as Blake sees this magnificent creature as an artwork of God, he may also see it as too perfect, almost as a deception. The deception of how beautiful the creature is can lead you to feel comfortable around it, but as most people know a tiger is anything but being able to be comfortable around as it can overpower any human very easily.
The tiger’s “fearful symmetry” can also pertain to its native environment; its camouflage with the foliage around it can give the tiger a bad reputation of being so perfectly symmetric it’s invisible and can pounce at any moment, giving a sense of fear to many. Towards the middle of the poem, Blake writes “What the hammer? what the chain? In what furnace was thy brain? What the anvil? what dread grasp Dare its deadly terrors clasp? ” The imagery and usage of “hammer”, “chain”, “furnace”, and “anvil” all give a sense of the creator being a blacksmith.
When you think of a blacksmith you think of a strong, hardworking being that goes through long hours of hot and dangerous work. Blacksmiths cannot do a half-ass job either; they make their works to perfection, which is what God does for us. Christians say that God makes all things perfect, and this is seen as God (the blacksmith) makes this tiger perfect and symmetrical. Blacksmiths work with hot molten metal making their jobs very dangerous. Blake gives these images to give a sense of how dangerous it was to make the tiger. The forging of the tiger suggests a long and deliberate kind of making.
Blake wants the reader to see that the making of the tiger was intentional and it was not accidental or in any way a coincidence that the tiger is beautiful yet ferocious in nature at the same time, it was purposefully made the way it is. Only a strong and courageous creator could manufacture such a perfect creature.
The creator of the tiger must have been courageous to the fullest meaning in order to deal with “fire” to create this creature. It takes courage to go through the abyss and back (“distant deeps”) and deal with fire (“Burnt the fire of thine eyes? ) to make this creature. Blake wants the reader to see that the tiger’s creator was no frightful little being, but a strong and brave one to withstand fire and do the job of a blacksmith to create perfection. Blake wrote: “When the stars threw down their spears, And watered heaven with their tears, Did he smile his work to see? ” To me, it seems as if Blake is trying to say through the glorious light spears from heaven to the gloomy days of rainy days, does God smile and appreciate his work of the tiger through its beautiful yet horrid nature.
The beauty is represented through the spears of light that come down from heaven, and the dread and gloomy sense is represented through a rainy day, and whatever the situation does God appreciate the tiger? It is curious to know that Blake leaves most of these questions unanswered because he wants the readers to decide for themselves, he doesn’t want to give people an answer and then they disagree, he wants people to see the world for themselves. “Did he who made the Lamb make thee? When Blake wrote this he made a reference to his other poem, The Lamb. With this reference Blake makes an allusion to Jesus Christ, the messiah of the Christian faith. Blake questions if God could make such a perfect being with no sin like Jesus, why would he make a creature like the tiger? Although the tiger is perfect in its own way it’s ferocious in nature and gives off a sense of evil to many. So he asks why he would make the tiger if he made the “Lamb” which is already perfect without a sense of viciousness.
This leads us to the same theme I mentioned earlier of the mysteries of the creator. Why would a benevolent God make a world where horror exists? Why can we not fully understand God’s complex ways? These are unanswered questions because we do not know them and everyone’s opinion is different. Blake’s poem is full of unanswered questions for the reader to decide the right answer and wonder in the awe of our creator.