Essay about William Blake's The Tyger
850 Words4 Pages
William Blake's The Tyger
In “The Tyger,” William Blake uses meter and rhyme to enhance both the meaning and the rhythm of his piece. The chanting nature is reinforced by frequent end-stop and catalectic endings for the lines. By melding these devices, Blake has managed to create a powerful poem – hidden in the casual style of a nursery rhyme.
The meter of “The Tyger” is mostly trochaic tetrameter (four feet per line; stressed-unstressed). Or trochaic three-and-a-half meter, really – Blake uses a catalectic ending (the dropping of the last unstressed syllable) on every trochaic line. This, along with the insertion of several iambic tetrameter lines, allows every end syllable to be stressed – thus forming a forceful beat to…show more content…
(God, as it’s implied.) Each time the iambic tetrameter is used, Blake seems to ask a pointed question to the tiger about God – in nearly every stanza. (Thus giving more weight to different lines and breaking up the rhythm a little.) In fact, out of six stanzas, only two completely adhere to trochaic tetrameter throughout: the second and the fourth. These stanzas bring forward the idea of a divine blacksmith, using words and phrases such as “burnt the fire,” “anvil,” and “furnace,” among others. The steady background meter mimics the blacksmith’s clanging hammer, while the iambic variations draw attention to the direct questions about God.
As for Blake’s use of enjambment, end-stop, and caesuras – mostly, they simply reinforce what the meter has created. Most of the lines are end-stopped, forcing the reader to pause briefly, and putting more emphasis on the end of the line. This, again, forms a semi-chanting style, and makes his questions seem all the more pointed. The enjambments don’t seem to have a pattern, save that they almost always (the first line of the beginning and last stanzas being the exception) occur in the middle of a question. The caesuras, on the other hand, do an excellent job of drawing the reader in on the first line, and breaking up the rhythm throughout the poem – particularly in the fourth stanza, where the meter is straight trochee. But enough said about the mechanics – what about the words? Blake’s imagery
In the first stanza we can observe that the word “tiger” is written with a “y” instead of an “I”, this is to give the word an inclination towards Ancient Greece. This is closely followed by the alliteration “(…) burning bright (…)” .This alliteration is used by the author to emphasize the strong, bright, shiny colors of the “tyger”. The “symmetry” y highlighted in this stanza, this is closely related to the spelling of the word because in Ancient Greece symmetry is seen as ´beauty´. It also speaks about an “immortal hand or eye”, which makes an allusion to the creator of this tiger, which is said to be a god. The pattern of the poem is also symmetrical.
The second stanza has in the first line the phrase “distant deeps”, this is an alliteration and it is used to remark how distant those depths are. Later on, the author writes “on what wings dare he aspire”, the meaning of this directly connected with the god who made the tiger. What the author is trying to emphasize is that if the “tyger” is, at the same time, such a horrific but beautiful creature, what the creator of this beast is like.
In the third stanza, the god creator of the tiger is seen as an artist, as the author writes “And what shoulder, & what art”. This shows the appreciation he has for the creator’s work. This is followed by the phrase “and when thy heart began to beat”, this highlights a symbol of the god’s power to create life, and it represent a symbol of life.
In stanza number four, the god is presented as a “Hammersmith”; we can see this by the use of the words “hammer”, “furnace”, “anvil”. There is also an alliteration that says “dare its deadly…” this remarks how mortal are the tiger’s claws.
In stanza number five, there is a reference to shooting stars which says “when the stars threw down their spears”. With this stanza the writer asks many rhetorical questions like, if the god smiled when he saw his creation? if he is the same god that made Christ?. These questions are asked with the meaning of making the reader ask himself about the nature of this god. Is this god pure good?The sixth stanza, repeats the first one. This installs in the poem the shape of a circle. The author did this because a circle is a typical symbol of eternity. This highlights the everlasting life of the “tyger” and of its creator. This poem makes us think about how powerful, beautiful, good but at the same time evil, is the god that made this work of art.