ari_? asked in Arts & HumanitiesPoetry · 1 decade ago

What is your interpretation of this William Blake poem phrase?

What immortal hand or eye dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

It is in his poem The Tyger.

7 Answers

  • Favorite Answer

    Blake is playing on the idea that God created both the Lamb and the Tiger and asking the age old question: if God created all things, and evil exists, then did God create evil?

    In Songs of Innocence, Blake uses the tone of a child to raise highly philosophical questions in a clear, straight-forward manner and does it quite beautifully.

  • 5 years ago

    Blake (who wrote 100 years or more before Robert Frost) called this poem "Auguries of Innocence," I believe. To me, the poem says that if we can recover the innocence of our original selves -- if the cynical, discouraged or guilt-haunted adult can "become like a little child" again -- in Jesus's words -- the world will seem infinite and timeless to us. Recover your original innocence, Blake is saying, and looking at a wildflower will give you a taste of heaven. There's a Bob Dylan song from the 1960s, probably written under the influence of drugs, that has basically the same message. It's called "Gates of Eden." When you can get back inside the "Gates of Eden" and recover your original innocence, Dylan's lyrics suggest, the world's problems -- war, injustice, intolerance, hypocrisy and the like -- fade away, and existence is holy and beautiful. I think that was Blake's vision, too, although Blake's half-gnostic, half-antinomian metaphysics was probably even more complicated that Bob Dylan's. I disagree with those who read this poem as an intimation of mortality, as some kind of elegy for the fleetingness of life -- a la the Book of Ecclesiastes, or a la Frost's comment that "nothing gold can stay." Blake as a thinker doesn't generally deny mortality, but there's no mention of it at all in this verse. Nor is there any mention of Jesus. For better or worse, Blake's vision in this poem is not epicurean or stoic, not focused on the inherent changeability of the universe. It's not focused on salvation through acceptance of Christ, at least Blake isn't talking about that. It's also not fundamentally concerned with the inevitability of death and suffering -- as, say, Frost's poems and the Buddha's teachings are. Blake here is celebrating the mystical sense of bliss that can arise from achieving oneness with the moment. "To hold infinity in a grain of sand, and eternity in an hour."

  • 1 decade ago

    Name-sake, try to understand it in its context. Here's one interpretation:

    "The Tyger" has long been recognized as one of Blake's finest poems; in his 1863 Life of William Blake, biographer Alexander Gilchrist relates that the poem "happens to have been quoted often enough ... to have made its strange old Hebrew-like grandeur, its Oriental latitude yet force of

    eloquence, comparatively familiar" and that essayist and critic Charles Lamb wrote of Blake: "I have heard of his poems, but have never seen them. There is one to a tiger ... which is glorious!" In his 1906 work William Blake: A Critical Essay, British poet and critic Algernon Charles Swinburne similarly calls the lyric "a poem beyond praise for

    its fervent beauty and vigour of music."Many critics have focused on the symbolism in "The Tyger," frequently contrasting it with the language, images, and questions of origin presented by its "innocent" counterpart,

    "The Lamb." E. D. Hirsch, Jr., for instance, notes that while "The Tyger" satirizes the lyrics found in "The Lamb" that is not the poem's primary function. As the critic asserts in his Innocence and Experience: An Introduction to Blake, in combining tones of terror and awe at a being that could create the tiger as well as the lamb, the poet "celebrates the divinity and beauty of the creation and its transcendance of human good and evil without relinquishing the Keatsian

    awareness that 'the miseries of the world Are misery.'" Hazard Adams believes that the poem demonstrates that "creation in art is for Blake the renewal of visionary truth." He explains in his 1963 study William Blake: A Reading of the Shorter Poems that while the tiger may be terrifying, it presents an intensity of vision that should be welcomed

    with "a gaiety which can find a place in the divine plan for both the tears and spears of the stars, ... and for both the tiger and the lamb."While 'The Tyger' can be read in a variety of ways, Mark Schorer asserts in William Blake: The Politics of Vision that "the juxtaposition of lamb and tiger points not merely to the opposition of innocence and experience, but to the resolution of the paradox they present." As the lamb is subjected to the travails of the world, "innocence is converted

    to exprience. It does not rest there. Energy can be curbed but it cannot be destroyed, and when it reaches the limits of its endurance, it bursts forth in revolutionary wrath." Jerome J. McGann, however, asserts in a 1973 essay that the poem defies specific interpretation: "As with so many of Blake's lyrics, part of the poem's strategy is to resist attempts to imprint meaning upon it. "The Tyger" tempts us to a

    cognitive apprehension but in the end exhausts our efforts." As a result, the critic concludes, "the extreme diversity of opinion among critics of Blake about the meaning of particular poems and passages of poems is perhaps the most eloquent testimony we have to the success of

    his work."

    * In short: What divine being took the risk to mold/carve your atrociously vindictive physique?

    good luck

    Source(s): web sources and personal reflections
  • 1 decade ago

    What divine creator limited the tyger's perfection to a physical form?

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  • 1 decade ago

    I believe it's referring to the creation of the tiger as a beast who is scared of man by building it into a frame which man is afraid of.

  • 1 decade ago

    sounds like he is talking about a person too perfect. That no one is deserving of them

  • 1 decade ago

    See above. Matthew has it right.

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