Interpretation of Poetic Sound

Interpretation of Poetic Sound

Length: 704 words (2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
Understanding the Speaker’s Voice:
Through Interpretation of Poetic Sound
     Classical, Early European, Eastern and Modern poetry share structural similarities in their use of rhythm, meter and rhyme; however, sound plays a more subtle role for purposes of interpretation. Poets combine structured rhythmic patterns and the formal arrangement of words with devices such as alliteration to create images in the reader’s mind. Two contrasting poems written by William Blake titled “The Lamb” from Songs of Innocence (1789) and “The Tyger” from Songs of Experience (1794), effectively illustrate how the fundamental use of poetic structure, selective alliteration and imagery, accentuates the underlying sounds of a poem; thereby, enabling the reader to better understand the voice or tone being portrayed by the speaker.
     In Blake’s opening lines of “The Lamb,” the speaker sets the initial tone for the conversation that takes place between the child and the gentle creature; “Little Lamb, who made thee/Dost thou know who made thee” (Blake 1-2). As evidenced by the speaker’s selective use of diction, the soft and non-threatening nature of the words establishes an atmosphere of child-like innocence and wonder that echoes throughout the remainder of the work. As the conversation progresses, the setting is established through the use of the words “stream” and “mead” (Blake 4), which is intended to suggest that the conversation is taking place outside, in a peaceful meadow. In subsequent lines of the poem, the child poses a series of softly worded phrases such as “Gave thee clothing of delight/Softest clothing wooly bright” (Blake 5-6). Although not initially obvious to the reader, through the selective use of alliteration, the speaker has effectively introduced the characteristics and subtle rhythmic sound that is consistent with that of a childhood nursery rhyme. The speaker’s melodious combination of repetition, diction and rhyme is further reinforced in the final two lines of the last stanza, “Little Lamb God bless thee/Little Lamb God bless thee” (Blake 19-20), which symbolically culminates in the child’s belief that the miracle of creation resides in God himself.
     There is a stark contrast between the opening lines of “The Lamb” and the opening lines of Blake’s companion poem “The Tyger.” In “The Tyger,” the speaker immediately establishes a very different setting for the conversation that takes place between the child and the fearsome beast; “Tyger! Tyger! Burning bright/In the forests of the night” (Blake 1-2). Unlike the peaceful setting of “The Lamb,” the image created in the reader’s mind through the selective use of words like “burning,” “forests,” and “night,” suggests that the conversation is taking place in an environment of uncertainty and darkness.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Interpretation of Poetic Sound." 22 Aug 2019

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Poetic Inspiration in Kubla Khan and Rime of the Ancient Mariner Essay examples

- Poetic Inspiration in Kubla Khan and Rime of the Ancient Mariner       An examination of the characters that Coleridge presents in "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" and "Kubla Khan" and the situations in which they find themselves reveals interesting aspects of Coleridge's own character that are both similar to and different from the characters named in the titles of these poems. In particular, an examination of these characters with an eye toward Coleridge's conception of poetic inspiration and success can be fruitful....   [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]

Research Papers
2249 words (6.4 pages)

Essay on The Significance of Sound and Music in The Tempest

- The Significance of Sound and Music in The Tempest ‘The Tempest’ is on a basic level a play about a magical island, complete with its own wizard, monster and handsome prince. However, it is much more than a fairytale. Complex themes such as usurpation, colonialism and the supernatural are interwoven into the plot to produce a play so diverse that it is widely considered to be one of Shakespeare’s finest works. Music and sound are dramatically significant in this diversity. This makes ‘The Tempest’ very different to other Shakespeare plays....   [tags: Papers]

Research Papers
815 words (2.3 pages)

Analysis Of Wilfred Owen 's ' Dulce Et Decorum Est And Anthem For Doomed Youth ``

- Wilfred Owen has composed many poems based on his intense personal experience as a soldier and wrote with both physical and moral trauma of the World War I. Particularly, two of his poems, “Dulce et Decorum Est” and “Anthem for Doomed Youth”, portray the misery that the soldiers have to suffer. Owen is not just delivering the meaning of poem using the suggestive words but also embroidering both poems with potent auditory qualities such as tone, alliteration, and sound devices. The poet actively promotes the audience’s the auditory sense to create much more distinct and detailed horrors of war....   [tags: Poetry, Sound, Exclamation mark]

Research Papers
943 words (2.7 pages)

Poetic and Pictorial Considerations for the Understanding of Frost's Birches

- The first word that may appear into a reader's mind when dealing with Robert Frost's "Birches" is remembrance. Every picture in the poem supports the word: the child playing with the Birch, the swinging movements that goes back and forward, the snow painting the trees deeply white. "Birches" is an extremely pictorial poem. Its images are of a profound emotion. There is a fact that can not be omitted: the year 1914, time in which the poem was written; World War I. Though that fact won't be taken much into consideration, so as to make the interpretation in a more personal approach, it is noticeable that by not leaving that year aside, the poem grows beautifully stronger; not only because the...   [tags: Poetry]

Research Papers
878 words (2.5 pages)

Essay on A Look at American Poetry

- Many may consider poetry to be a language of its own: full of feelings, emotions, and perceptions. All of us have our own experiences & sentiments; therefore we all have the ability to write our own poetry from our background without even realizing it. In my opinion, I do not think that the importance of American poetry should be stressed just to college students; I believe that our society as a whole should care about American poetry. Throughout history, poetry has been considered to be important, not only for entertainment purposes, but because of its unique value and the readers ability for their own interpretation....   [tags: Literature, poetic Analysis, The Pillow]

Research Papers
1131 words (3.2 pages)

The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner Essay

- In William Faulkner’s novel, The Sound and the Fury, the decline of southern moral values at the close of the Civil War was a major theme. This idea was portrayed by the debilitation of the Compson family. Each chapter of the novel was a different characters’ interpretation of the decaying Compson family. Benjy, Quentin, and Jason Compson were three members of the Compson family who had their own section in the novel. Their unique ideas contributed to the reader’s understanding of the novel. In his novel, The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner’s characters’ relationship with time played a significant role in the novel....   [tags: The Sound and the Fury ]

Research Papers
1488 words (4.3 pages)

The Significance of Sound in Film Essay

- Movies ultimately engage two of the main senses, vision and hearing. Director Steven Spielberg once said, “The eye sees better when the sound is great.” Sound is just as imperative as an element as every additional component of film form. As stated in the textbook on page 41 “Any attentive filmgoer is aware of the enormous power music holds in shaping the film experience, manipulating emotions and point of view, and guiding perceptions of characters, moods, and narrative events” (Gorbman). The sound, in the majority of narrative films is the element that provides distinctive cues that assist the spectators from expectations with reference to significance; and in numerous occasions, sound es...   [tags: Cinematography Sound Analysis]

Research Papers
1312 words (3.7 pages)

Essay on Physics Of A Spectrogram Sound

- When measured in a spectrogram sound can be analyzed by amplitude and time. A spectrogram is a visual representation of the spectrum of frequencies in a sound or other signal as they vary with time or some other variable. In a brief interpretation of the graphs, the vertical scale marks the amplitude, the horizontal is the time. Based on my voice sample the graph shows the changes in my voice patterns over the length of the sample. As the pressure in my voice increases the graph translates this as amplitude....   [tags: Sound, Wavelength, Hertz, Acoustics]

Research Papers
724 words (2.1 pages)

The Sound and the Fury Essay

- The Sound and the Fury: Chronology of Despair Three little boys watch wearily and fearfully as their sister shimmies quickly up a tree to peer through the window of a dilapidated Southern farmhouse. Our attention focuses neither on her reaction to the festivities commencing in the house, nor on the danger suspended nervously in the dusky air as the tiny image worms up the tree trunk. Sensing the distress apparent in the boys’ words and actions, our eyes rivet to the same thing that fills their faces with apprehension—the dark and muddied stain of filth firmly planted on the bottom of the little girl’s underpants....   [tags: Sound Fury]

Research Papers
6984 words (20 pages)

Structures Used in The Sound and the Fury Essay

- Structures Used in The Sound and the Fury In “Christian and Freudian Structures”, Carvel Collins points out some interesting systems used by Faulkner in The Sound and The Fury. Collins refers to the first system Faulkner uses as a Christian structure, which shows how all three Compson sons are in parallel with Christ. When discussing the Christian structure, Collins says that it is important for the reader to know that three of the four sections are set on Easter Sunday and the two days preceding it (71)....   [tags: Sound and the Fury Essays]

Research Papers
746 words (2.1 pages)

Related Searches

Although subtle, the speaker’s use of the word “what” (Blake 3) in “The Tyger,” in contrast to the word “who” (Blake 1) in “The Lamb,” establishes an atmosphere of confusion and doubt that permeates the remainder of the work. As the conversation progresses, the speaker continues to pose a series of pointed questions such as, “What immortal hand or eye/Could frame thy fearful symmetry” (Blake 3-4) and “Did he smile his work to see/Did he who made the Lamb make thee” (Blake 19-20). Unlike the subtle, melodious sound associated with “The Lamb,” the speaker’s selection of diction and blunt alliteration results in a rhythm that is more closely related to that of a chant - ending abruptly and without closure. This concept is further reinforced in the final two lines of the last stanza, “What immortal hand or eye/Dare frame thy fearful symmetry” (Blake 23-24), which symbolically culminates in the speaker’s unanswered question, “Did the same Creator make both, the lamb and the tiger?”
     Blake’s poems “The Lamb” and “The Tyger” share many parallels in structure and echo the common theme of creation; however, a careful analysis of diction reveals sharp contrasts in their respective presentations. The fundamental use of poetic structure, selective alliteration and imagery, accentuates the underlying sounds of the works; thereby, facilitating reader interpretation, which promotes enhanced understanding of the intended voice being portrayed by the speaker.

Works Cited
Blake, William. “The Lamb.” Literature: Reading, Reacting, Writing, 5th ed. Eds. Laurie Kirszner and Stephen R. Mandell. Boston: Heinle, 2004. 1159-60.
Blake, William. “The Tyger.” Literature: Reading, Reacting, Writing, 5th ed. Eds. Laurie Kirszner and Stephen R. Mandell. Boston: Heinle, 2004. 1160-61.
Return to