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Rhythm and Meter in the Tyger by William Blake

William Blake was very significant person in the history of English literature and art. He was both artist and poet, creator and illustrator of ideas, philosopher and printmaker. His images and poems are still very popular and well-known. “The Tyger” is one of Blake’s most popular and most quoted poems. This fantastic poem was first published in 1794 as part of the dual collection Songs of Innocence and Experience.

The poem starts with the speaker that asks a fearsome tiger what kind of divine being could have created it. He asks from what part of space the tiger’s fiery eyes could have come. The speaker compares the creator to a blacksmith, he thinks about the anvil and the furnace that the project would have needed and the smith who could have wielded them. However, when the job was finished what were the feelings of the creator? Could it be the same creator that have created the lamb? Blake proposes that the creature was created in hell. In this poem, Blake compares the severe, furious beauty of a tiger to the work of a metals shop: burning, banging, constructing until a beautiful product is rendered.

The poem contains six quatrains in rhymed couplets with a pulsing, steady, mostly-trochaic rhythm. However, Blake changes the pronunciation of the word “symmetry" in the first and last stanza to force a rhyme. The meter of this poem is regular and rhythmic. Its hammering beat suggestive of the smithy that is the poem’s central image. Most of the lines are written in four trochees. The proportions of the poems form are very simple and it suits regular structure, in which a string of questions all contributes to the articulation of a single, central idea.

In the first line of this poem, “Tyger! Tyger! burning bright" Blake used alliteration to emphasize the idea of the presence the creature possesses on earth. We can also see such examples of alliteration as “distant deeps" in the second stanza. "The Tyger" is an example of a clear and definable form. It isn’t usual for Blake and it will be difficult to find anything similar in his works beyond the Songs. It’s really just not his style. Blake normally prefers long, prose-like lines with seemingly random punctuation.

Certainly, “The Tyger” is one his outstanding and most popular poems. It is really exciting for its rhythm, meter, and rhyme. It is really fantastic how a poem that was written in 1794 is still topical and important for modern people.

William Blake was very significant person in the history of English literature and art. He was both artist and poet, creator and illustrator of ideas, philosopher and printmaker. His images and poems are still very popular and well-known. “The Tyger” is one of Blake’s most popular and most quoted poems.

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100004389
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CREATED ON
2 April 2017
COMPLETED ON
5 April 2017
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