Many poems written by the same author often have similar themes. The authors usually believe in something very strongly and their poems usually reflect such a nature. Sometimes poets reflect aspects of their personal life in their poems. In the poems "The Lamb" and "The Tiger", by William Blake, the poet discusses similar themes in both.
In the poem "The Lamb", I interpret that William Blake discusses many points questioning creation and religion. He describes the lamb as being an object of innocence and fragility when he says "Gave thee clothing of delight, Softest clothing, woolly, bright; Gave thee such a tender voice" (line 5). "Blake develops an elaborate personal mythology that underlies virtually all symbolism and ideas in his work." (Shilstone, p.223) Blake discusses that the creator of the lamb is also calls Himself a Lamb. With this he brings religious significance into the poem. It the New Testament, Jesus of Nazareth is referred as God's Lamb.
There are a few themes developed in "The Lamb." Blake describes the lamb as symbol of childhood innocence. He also questions about how the lamb was brought into existence, which mentions another theme of divine intervention and how all creatures were created. The poem is nothing but one wondering question to another (Harmon, p. 361).
"The Tiger" by William Blake describes the tiger as being an symbol of evil. This is displayed when Blake says "What an anvil? what dread grasp, Dare its deadly terrors clasp?" By repeating variations of the word "dread" in the poem, he emphasizes the evil of tiger and the evil this tiger possesses. The mighty beast is whole world of experience outside ourselves, a world of igneous creation and destruction, faced with a terrifying beauty (Harmon, p.360). This poem also contains the theme of creation in that it also mentions the Lamb. The narrator questions, "Did he who make the Lamb make thee?" (line 20)
Both poems contain many similarities according to their themes. "The Tiger" was taken from a collection of poems by Blake called The Songs of Experience. These poems focus on evil and the importance of understanding the evil around in hope of attaining a state of innocence. "In The Songs of Innocence Blake suggests that by recapturing the imagination and wonderment of childhood, we could achieve the goal of self-awareness... the poems thus present views of the world as filtered through the eyes and mind of a child." (Literature, The English Tradition, p. 606) Thou can also infer that evil can bring forth the loss of innocence. Therefore, one existing similarity is that they both concern the loss of innocence. Many poems from each set are companion pieces to each other. "The Lamb" is an emblem of innocence, corresponding to "The Tiger" as the emblem of experience. (Harmon, p. 365)
Another shared theme between the two works, "The Tiger" and "The Lamb", is the theme of creation and divine intervention. In both poems Blake questions multiple times about how each was created. In "The Lamb", Blake suggests that the lamb was created by a godlike being. In "The Tiger" Blake questions if the tiger was created by the same being that created the lamb. Such curiosity is a common theme to both poems.
Thus, through the information discussed, it can be seen that there exists a common comparison in two separate works by William Blake. The themes of both poems are in conjunction with each other. Therefore, according to theme it can be proven that there exists significant similarities in these works by William Blake.
1. William Harmon, Top 500 Poems (Mew York: Columbia University Press, 1992)
2. Frederick W. Shilstone, British Poetry (Middletown, NY: N&N Publishing Company, 1988)
3. Literature; The English Tradition, Prentic Hall, New Jersey, 1991.
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