The Lamb and the Tyger by William Blake

Emily Brodsky
Professor Perrotta
English 102-506
October 19, 2015
William Blake’s “The Lamb” and “The Tyger”: A Formalist Perspective
William Blake is remarked as one of the earliest and most considerable figures in the Romantic era. He never attended any kind of formal school, however at the age of 21 he left his engraving apprenticeship and enrolled in the Royal Academy in London. It is said that Blake was influenced by the French and American revolutions. It is also said that when his brother passed he saw his body rise to the ceiling, clapping his hands with joy. Blake often talks about being able to physically see God, which implies his work is heavily influenced by religion.   In Songs of Innocence and Experience both “The Lamb” and “The Tyger” display underlying meaning that can be taken both literally and figuratively. Blake’s figurative undertones are very much religious in sense.
When one begins reading the poem, “The Lamb”, they get a sense that they are reading about a physical lamb. However, through hints from subtext imitative of Christian and classical mythology, the reader finds the lamb is actually a symbol. Jennifer Smith and Elizabeth Thomason, mention in “Overview: ‘The Lamb’, “The Lamb is a symbol of Jesus Christ, both as a child and as a physical reincarnation…The child is both a creation of God and a lamb, one of God's flock. Blake begins with a simple image and approaches it from differing angles to give the reader a better understanding of his vision of the nature of Divine Creation.” The first two lines ask the question of who the creator is, establishing the theme. The next two lines give you an image of the setting, not putting any restraint on the lamb which is significant. In lines five and six we start to see symbolism of the lamb. “They recall the swaddling cloths of the baby Jesus, and of his hair that was purported to be like ‘lamb's wool’” (Overview: ‘The Lamb’). Blake also compares how bright the lamb is to Christ,...