“The Lamb” and “The Tyger” by William Blake


Poets often write poem with similar themes. Poetry as part of literature which can be viewed as creative reproduction of reality, socio-political and economic commentary represent strong views of the author about particular issues affecting society. Authors normally write from some sensitivity to some strong opinions. In his Poems; The Tiger and The Lamb William Blake articulates similar if not related thematic concerns in the two poetic pieces. In “The Lamb” Blake is questioning the concepts of creation as well religion. Blake presents a portrayal of the Lamb as an epitome of innocence and fragility. He writes, “Gave thee clothing of delight, softest clothing, wooly, bright, Gave thee such a tender voice (Line 5). In the liens mentioned in the foregoing going onwards Blake generates a subtle personal mythology which undercuts the repertoire of symbolism and ideas in his writings. The poet presents that the creator of the Lamb also addresses Himself as a Lamb. Through the lines that infer to the Creator and creation Blake pulls in religious significance into the poem. The biblical allusions are identifiable with references made in the New Testament in eth Bible where Jesus Christ is referred to as the Lamb of God.


In sharp contrast to the thematic concerns articulated in other Poems, “The Tiger” m Blake presents the Lamb as symbol of childhood and innocence. The poem which is a summation of wondering question to another in the parlance of Harmon (2001), He introduces questions of existence of the lamb drawing in the themes of divine intervention as well as how all creatures were created.

While in the poem “The Lamb” the poet presents the Lamb as symbol of tenderness and innocence, in the poem “The Tiger”, Blake presents a sharply contrasting theme of evil. This is captured I the following lines:

What an anvil? What dread grasp, Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

Through a deliberate repetition of the variation of the term dread in the tract the poet accomplishes an important emphasis of the evil theme symbolized by the Tiger object as well as the evil that the Tiger possesses. Harmon (2001) observes, “The fiery beast is the entire world of experience without us, a world of formidable creation and annihilation, faced with terrific beauty”. The two poems, The Lamb and The Tiger share similar theme of creation as in the poem The Lamb there is also mention of the of Lamb symbol in the poem The Tiger as can be observed in the following line;

Did he who made the Lamb make thee? (Line 20)

The two poems have similarities when it comes to the import of their themes. It is worth noting that the poem The Tiger was taken from a repertoire of poems by Blake called the Songs of experience. The anthology focus on the matters issues of evil and the essence of comprehending the evil with the hope of being in position to attain the condition of innocence. In the collection of the poems William Blake advances a suggestion that through recapturing the imaginative faculties as well as the wonderment of childhood; readers can reach to the level of self-awareness. In this perspective the poems by Blake outline a view of the world as accessed through the window of an innocent mind and eyes of a child. By contrast achieved in the exploration of the two thematically related poems one draws the underlying meaning that evil can bring about the destruction of innocence.


One common theme in the two poems is that they both entail the matter of the loss of innocence. The Lamb is presented and portrayed as an emblem of innocence, while correspondingly the Tiger is presented as the emblem of experience. The poems also share two significant themes of creation and divine intervention. In the two poems the poet brings up the questions on how each was created in an aura of wonderment.


Harmon, N. A Visit to William Blake’s Inn. Harcourt Brace & Company, 2001.

William Michael. The Poetical Works of William Blake: Lyrical and Miscellaneous. Millen Press, 2001

Bentley, Gerald Eades and Bentley Jr., G. William Blake: The Critical Heritage. 2005.

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