Analysis of Poetic Devices in William Blake’s The Tyger

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About this sample


Words: 1187 |

Pages: 3|

6 min read

Published: Aug 6, 2021

Words: 1187|Pages: 3|6 min read

Published: Aug 6, 2021


Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. 'The Tyger': Literary Devices
  3. Conclusion


William Blake (28 November 1757 – 12 August 1827) was an English poet, painter, and printmaker. Largely unrecognized during his lifetime, Blake is now considered a seminal figure in the history of the poetry and visual arts of the Romantic Age. He wrote a very interesting poem published in 1794 in London as part of the Songs of Experience collection framed as a series of questions. In summary, in the poem Blake is wondering about the creator responsible for such a fearsome creature as the tiger. “The Tyger” was written to express Blake's view on human's natural ferocity through comparison with a tiger in the jungle, an opposite depiction of the innocence found in “the Lamb”. Blake expresses his views of this extravagant creature; he is questioning the ‘great but deadly power of nature’ through the use of different poetic devices to enhance the poem's meaning.

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'The Tyger': Literary Devices

'The Tyger' is six stanzas in length, each stanza four lines long. Much of the poem follows the metrical pattern of its first line and can be scanned as trochaic tetrameter catalectic. A number of lines, however, such as line four in the first stanza, fall into iambic tetrameter. 'The Tyger' lacks narrative movement.

The poet has used many poetic devices in the first stanza, “Tyger Tyger, burning bright.” Is an alliteration, repetition and an apostrophe which has created a musical quality in the poem as well as an assonance which is repeating the vowel sound ‘I’ in “burning bright” is in alliteration too, the line means that the tiger which is in the forest is burning like fire or in other words looking like yellow fire in the dead of night, “the forest of the night” is a metaphor in which he compares the tiger with darkness and repression and there is another device which is Imagery is used to make the readers perceive things with their five senses. Blake has used imagery to show the unique creation of God such as, “What immortal hand or eye”, “Burnt the fire of thine eyes?” and “In the forests of the night.” “Could frame thy fearful symmetry” is alliteration as well a question symbolizes the existence of both good and evil.

The use of alliteration, repetition and assonance in this stanza gains the reader’s attention through the repetition of a consonant sound such as ‘Burning bright’ and a vowel sound to help enhance the poem’s meaning and the development of image created by words as well as to convey the poet’s message that is awe-inspiring and fear-inducing.

In the second stanza first line, “In what distant deeps or skies” is an allusion which has the meaning of hell or heaven also there is alliteration in the words ‘distant deeps’ the speaker wonders in which far-off depths or skies the tiger's fiery eyes were made. The poet uses allusions in this poem because he is talking about God’s creation of good and evil, which has to do with both time period and event. Usually, allusion can be used in poetry to easily communicate a message to readers. When a person reads an allusion, they will pick up on references from history, literary texts and/or religion. These devices allow the poem to flow and have rhythm, making the poem simpler to understand. In the second line, “Burnt the fire of thine eyes?” is a metaphor in which Blake is comparing the tiger’s eyes with fire or something evil. ‘On what wings dare he aspire? What the hand, dare seize the fire?’ here the reader will notice that there is a rhythm in the whole poem as well as a repetition in the world ‘dare’ in both lines. Also, there is alliteration in the words ‘what wings’. Blake is asking that did the tiger's creator have wings, and whose hand would be daring enough to create the tiger? The purpose of asking those questions is to let the reader wonder who has created this fearsome tiger.

In stanza three, the speaker imagines the kind of effort and skill that must have gone into creating the tiger, wondering who would be strong enough to build the tiger's muscular body. Whose hands and feet were the ones that made the tiger's heart start beating? In the first line of this stanza there is a repetition in the words ‘what’ in the first line of this stanza and another repetition of the word ‘dread’ at the end of this stanza meant to question who is that strong, dread creator that is powerful like that? The use of this poetic device is to also ask and wonder who is that strong creator who builds and creates that strong tiger. Another poetic device which is alliteration in the words ‘began to beat’.

In stanza four, the speaker wonders about the tools the tiger's creator must have used, imagining that the tiger's brain was created in a forge. What terrifying being would be so daring as to create the tiger? It is almost about rhetorical questions such as ‘What the hammer? What the chain, in what furnace was thy brain? What the anvil? What dread grasp.’ Rhetorical question is a question that is not asked to receive an answer; it is just posed to make the point clear. The point in which Blake wants the readers to identify what is the meaning of the poem and who is the creator of that tiger. In those questions Blake is also comparing the creator to a ‘blacksmith’ who is shaping and creating perfect and strong things such as ‘the hammer’ also there is repetition of the words ‘what’ ‘dread’ ‘dare’.

In the fifth stanza, the speaker mentions a time when the stars gave up their weapons and rained their tears on heaven. At this time, wonders the speaker, did the creator look at the tiger and smile at his accomplishment? And was the tiger made by the same creator who made the lamb? Here the speaker uses personification in the quotes, “When the stars threw down their spears And water’d heaven with their tears:” it is personification because he considers stars as humans. There is repetition of the words ‘Did he’ talking about the creator or the ‘god’.

In stanza six, the speaker addresses the tiger again, this time wondering not just who could create this fearsome beast — but who would dare.

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In conclusion, there are many characteristics that a well written poem such as ‘the Tyger’ possesses and those are; sound, imagery, symbols and literary devices. These unique characteristics do a good job at outlining the theme of the poem that is essentially about God’s creations of good and evil. Blake expresses his views of this extravagant creature; he is questioning the ‘great but deadly power of nature’ and questioning about mostly the creator of this creature throughout the poem through the use of different poetic devices to enhance the poem's meaning and clarify its purpose and theme which is creation and origin. The speaker is in awe of the fearsome qualities and raw beauty of the tiger, and he rhetorically wonders whether the same creator could have also made 'the Lamb'.

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Analysis Of Poetic Devices In William Blake’s The Tyger. (2021, August 06). GradesFixer. Retrieved April 20, 2024, from
“Analysis Of Poetic Devices In William Blake’s The Tyger.” GradesFixer, 06 Aug. 2021,
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