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Imagery And Symbolism in William Blake’s The Tyger

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Length: 687 words (2 double-spaced pages)
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Imagery And Symbolism in William Blake’s The Tyger


“Can you give to the horse mightyness? Can you clothe its neck with a rustling mane? Can you cause it to leap like a locust?”(Job 39:19-20)

William Blake’s The Tyger is reminiscent of when God questioned Job rhetorically about his creations, many of them being fearsome beasts such as the leviathan or the behemoth. Much like this speech from the old testament, The Tyger also uses a significant amount of imagery and symbolism which contributes to its spiritual aspects.

There is a wealth of imagery in the first two lines alone. The poem begins:
“Tyger! Tyger! burning bright In the forests of the night,” The reader conceives in their mind the image of a tiger with a coat blazing like fire in the bowels of a dark forest. This creates a negative impression of the tiger, so some might say that the tiger is symbolic of evil. Some people may go even further to conclude that the tiger is a symbol of Satan. Perhaps mainly the people who derive their interpretation of hell from Dante’s Inferno, or other works of literature that portray the devil as a predator, cloaked in flames residing in the darkness of hell. The same type of imagery and symbolism is used in the first two lines of the second stanza, where it says: “In what distant deeps or skies Burnt the fire of thine eyes?”

The images of “distant deeps or skies” again presents images of a realm of darkness, and one is reminded again of the traditional interpretation o...

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