The University of Toronto at Scarborough

ENGB02Y: English Literature: Historical Survey (SpringTerm)

Instructor: Melba Cuddy-Keane

William Blake, "The Tyger

- this poem functions as a companion poem to "The Lamb"
- the Lamb: the creation of gentleness, goodness, love
- the Tyger: the creation of force, destructiveness, power
- how can the God who created goodness be the same God who created evil?
- the smithy like the fire of hell
- the tools: anvil, hammer, chain--hard metal; mechanistic
--the artist/creator here is not a figure of love but of "dread"
- but tyger not simply evil
- admiration of energy, strength, beauty: what is the significance of "symmetry"?
- ambiguous: is the tyger to be feared or admired?
- like the French Revolution: both positive and destructive
- contraries as opposed to unity
- open-ended questioning

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