William Blake’s ‘The Tyger’ is a comprehensive poem that poses questions to the reader such as, what is ‘The Tyger’? What is its creation? Blake also uses the tiger as a metaphor for the good and evil in the world. Blake emphasizes the tiger’s creation by the repetition of “Tyger! Tyger! Burning bright” (1 & 21) from the first verse of the poem to the last verse of the poem. 

There is also a repetition of “dare” (7 & 8), “heart” (10 & 11), and “did he” (19 & 20) throughout. The poem is in a trochaic meter, consisting of a stressed syllable followed by an unstressed one; “Tyger! Tyger! Burning bright” (1). This meter gives a stronger rhyme to the poem. Blake also stresses the good and evil in the tiger.

The alliteration at the beginning of each line could also be interpreted and emphasized as a strike and hard beat; for example, “Tyger Tyger, burning bright /In the forest of the night” (1 & 2) in correlation to the abrasive nature of tigers.

However, the alliteration in the poem also creates a chirpy tone: “distant deeps” (5), “began to beat” (11) and “dare is deadly (16), in parallel to the tiger’s subdue nature. The consonant repetition of “t”, “m” and “n” is present in the poem and it drives the rhythm forward with a steady beat.

Alexander Pope stated; “The sound must seem an echo the sense”, as demonstrated throughout Blake’s piece entitled The Tyger. As of the very first line, “Tyger! Tyger! burning bright” Blake’s excessive use of alliteration lends emphasis to the tiger while highlighting the idea of the presence the creature possesses on earth. 

Further examples of alliteration follow, such as “distant deeps” in the second stanza.  Blake uses the ear-pleasing rhetoric to accentuate the distance of the fire that could create the creature, hinting to the reader that the creator must be extremely far away, at a place where only one with wings or unyielding hands could reach; he suggests the creature was created in hell. 

These hints are read carefully by the reader as they have taken a slower reading pace due to the alliteration.  Blake uses repetition of the word “what” to emphasize his search for the tiger’s creator. 

This dramatic device stresses the idea of what is unknown, allowing the reader to be taken into the piece itself to search for an answer. Furthermore, the six quatrains are composed of rhyming couplets.  However, Blake changes the pronunciation of the word “symmetry” in the first and last stanza to force a rhyme, while making the reader pause and therefore pay attention to the words in the poem.

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William Anderson (Schoolworkhelper Editorial Team)
William completed his Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts in 2013. He current serves as a lecturer, tutor and freelance writer. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, walking his dog and parasailing. Article last reviewed: 2022 | St. Rosemary Institution © 2010-2024 | Creative Commons 4.0

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