The Lamb And The Tiger By William Blake

2899 words - 12 pages

'The Lamb' and 'The Tiger' by William Blake

Write about The Lamb and The Tiger by William Blake. Explain how
the poet portrays these creatures and comment on what you consider to
be the main ideas and attitudes of the poet.

'All things bright and beautiful,

All creatures great and small,

All things wise and wonderful,

The Lord God made them all.'

Cecil Frances Alexander

Indeed, God created all creatures great and small, and he could not
have created two creatures more different from each other than the
lamb and the tiger. The question arises in one's mind therefore: -

'Could one creator design and give life to two exhibits of such a vast
contrast?'
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William Blake certainly poses this question in a somewhat clever
manner in the two examples of his work that I've analysed and
compared, namely 'The Lamb' and 'The Tiger'.

In the two collections of his work, namely Songs of Innocence and
Songs of Experience, he has several contrasting poems that bring the
two states of being described by both collections under the
microscope. As one of the early Romance poets, Blake was writing in
opposition to the rapidly changing, revolutionary eighteenth-century.
Essentially, that opposition developed into an appreciation of the
emotions, as opposed to reason ant intellect, and a recognition of the
purity and innocence which childhood represents in contrast with the
corruptions and in-authenticity of adulthood, with its learning and
experience of life. The English Industrial Revolution played a very
influential role in William Blake's work.

Songs of Innocence includes a reversal of the expected 'hierarchies'.
The poems reject the authority of the dominant culture over the
individual and the authority of the rational mind over the imaginative
faculties. Within the adult, the child is resurrected, liberating
imagination, desire and creativity.

On the other hand, we encounter the dark underside of the virtues
upheld in traditional children's literature in Songs of Experience.
The poems reveal the perversion of natural creative energy that
results from repression and injustice, and the hardships of life and
the world we live in.

I shall now compare and contrast the two contradicting poems mentioned
previously: 'The Lamb' and 'The tiger', both revealing the 'two
halves' of Blake's journey through life, and reveal much about his
views.

Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience were written five years
apart (Songsof Innocence obviously being his premiere work) and were
both written in a simplistic style that made them accessible for
children. They show to different worlds: one in which God is trusted
implicitly and there's no question of moral issues; and one which the
fallen state is examined and religious hypocrisy is examined.
Questions arise about the mode of thinking about Christianity in all
its repressive,...

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