What do you learn about the changes occurring throughout the Romantic period in Blake's poems?

Essay by bluevaseA-, March 2004

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William Blake lived from 1757-1827, and his work was published in the late eighteenth century. It was during this time that many political and social changes were developing in Britain. Blake lived his life as a poet through the Romantic period in history. In this essay, I will first examine two poems by Blake, 'The Tyger' and 'London. I will be looking at how the themes, imagery, structure and form suggest how Blake was affected in his writing.

'The Tyger', which may be Blake's best-known poem, is about the force and fearfulness of the tiger, as a symbol of God's power in creation. The structure of the poem is very precise, with the 6 stanzas each having 4 lines and 2 rhyming couplets, with a steady rhythm throughout the poem. The last stanza is a repeat of the first, but not exactly, one word is changed, to 'dare', in the last line:

'Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?'

This change makes us question what it was in the poem that changed our view or Blake's view, and made us think of the creation of the tiger as daring.

This is the form of the poem throughout, asking questions rhetorically about the creation of the tiger; where was the tiger created, who could've formed it and how. The main question that the reader asks of the poem is what the tiger represents, and so what could it mean to 'frame' the tiger's 'fearful symmetry'? To answer the latter question, it could be said that the tiger, like all other creatures, has been 'framed' by God, suggested in the poem by words like 'heaven' and the rhetorical line in the fifth stanza:

'Did he who made the Lamb make thee?'

Another idea is that the one that 'frames' the...