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In William Blake’s “Songs of Innocence,” he refers to the Lamb through numerous fashions, and even writes a song specifically, called “The Lamb.” In “The Lamb,” the child speaker reveals a hymn-like, soft tone through the simplistic diction and rhyme scheme. The speaker also displays closeness to God through its innocence, as viewed by an experienced reader; the child speaks to the Lamb and is not aware that Christ was the sacrificial lamb. In addition, “The Lamb” shows how the innocent speaker takes the world at face value and does not question it, contrary to Blake’s later, “Songs of Experience.”
“The Tyger” is a contrary to its companion poem, “The Lamb,” in a variety of ways. Firstly, although the titles of both poems are very similar, each animal represents something entirely different. The Tyger represents an animal that is powerful and potentially dangerous, whereas the Lamb is a symbol for innocence that is weak and vulnerable. In addition, the Lamb is also symbol for Christ and divinity, and is found in both of the poems. In “The Tyger,” the speaker asks “Did he who made the Lamb make thee?” asking if the creator, God, made both good and bad in the world. “The Tyger” also differs from “The Lamb” through the speaker. In “The Tyger,” Blake has only one speaker, who does not accept the world as what it is, but rather questions and ponders throughout the poem. Words such as “fire,” “night,” “furnace,” and “deadly terrors” depict a sense of darkness and mystery that is found through experience of the world. The mysteries found show a sense of experience because it is an abstract thought that requires a deeper sense of the world and such that mysteries are created to describe something that cannot be rationally grasped. Blake also asks in line 5: “In what distant deeps or skies/Burnt the fire of thine eyes?” In this stanza, Blake uses distant deep and skies as an abstract location where the speaker is asking an ambiguous question as to whether the Tyger is from Hell or Heaven, and whether it is good or bad. In “The Tyger” the speaker questions evil and mystery, as opposed to in “The Lamb,” where the speaker is innocent and only talks about the good things in the world, for it has not experienced the corruptness. The comparison between the amounts of stanzas in the two poems also shows a contrary. In “The Lamb,” there are only two stanzas showing the simplicity of innocence, where as in “The Tyger,” there are six stanzas, showing the complexity of experience. Additionally, the rhyming schemes of the six stanzas provide a chant-like feel to the poem, allowing for a darker tone, whereas “The Lamb” has a rhyming scheme that would song more like a hymn, giving a soothing tone to the poem. The differences between the two poems show the opposites between innocence and experience.
Through “The Lamb,” Blake demonstrates the innocence of childhood and how children are closer to divinity because of their unawareness of the world. While on the contrary, Blake demonstrates through “The Tyger,” how has people grow, and become more experienced, their view of the world becomes tainted and, in a sense, blinded by the mysteries of the world.
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