0william Blake - What Different Versions of God Does the Lamb and the Tyger Represent?

0william Blake - What Different Versions of God Does the Lamb and the Tyger Represent?The Lamb and The Tyger address the same subject: the conception of God. Consider the two different representations of God as presented in each poem, how do the views of God differ? Support your argument with evidence from the poems.
Oscar Alexander-Jones
In ‘The Lamb’, God represents God in the form of the Lamb, which is typically used to represent Jesus. The poem itself is written in simple, singsong verse, perhaps intending to reflect the simple mind of the child. The child also appears quite incurious by only asking questions to which he thinks he already knows the answer (‘Little lamb who made thee….Little Lamb I’ll tell thee). ‘The Lamb’ can be focuses very much on the side of God that creates and the God as it is understood by the childish mind (in the form of Jesus, meek and mild). There is also a sense of unity between the child and the Lamb (and therefore between the child and God) which is shown by the child’s understanding that He who made the lamb also made the child and a sense of being part of the natural world and the divine world. This idea of unity may also perhaps be a vague reference to the Trinity and the Lamb being Jesus, the child being the Holy Spirit and the creator of them both being the Lord. Blake criticises this interpretation of both the God and the unity with the exterior world as being the product of lack of criticism and the valuing of simplicity over truth. Blake also criticises the lack of application of rationality and reasoning as being infantile and that not questioning your own beliefs and simply being content to believe what you have been taught, as the child is when he says that the Lamb is made by God, is juvenile. He mocks the total certainty of the child that God is good, a certainty that is contrasted with his later poem, ‘The Tyger’, in which many questions are asked and none are answered.
‘The Tyger’ explores an entirely different interpretation of God. In this poem, Blake implies that God should be approached with fear and awareness but also with admiration at its complex beauty. In the poem, Blake also equates a number of different myths of Western mythology (Icarus – ‘on what wings dare he aspire’, Prometheus – ‘what hand dare seize the fire’ and Hephaestus – ‘hammer…chain…furnace’) in ‘The Tyger’ as opposed to ‘The Lamb’ in which he addresses Christianity alone in the form of Jesus and the Trinity. In this, Blake could be trying to say that God is far more universal than the Christian God of the child or that the adult mind should consider God to be symbolic of the world in general rather than specific to a single text. ‘The Tyger’ addresses the duality of the mature perception of God, repeatedly mentioning the ideas of symmetry and balance. Unlike in The Lamb, Blake addresses the idea of Hell as part of his criticism of the omnibenevolent God. In Verse 3, the idea of war is referenced several times, with the ‘beat’ of hearts (similar to the beating of war drums) and the ‘dread feet’ (the feet of marching soldiers). These war references could be about the French Revolution, in which the oppressed people had achieved their own liberation but only through acts of war and death, again referencing duality and perhaps the idea of achieving good through the means of evil which is again mentioned in verse 5 when he says that the stars ‘watered heaven with their tears’, meaning Noah’s Flood, in which God supposedly bettered mankind, liberating them from their sin by killing huge swathes of them (achieving good through evil). If one takes the interpretation that God is just human personality and that it is personality is what Blake is talking about in his poems, one could argue that the childish mind is killed by maturity (just as Tigers kill Lambs) and the ideas that were held with absolute certainty are destroyed, replaced by the critical reasoning of adulthood that is perhaps antithetical to a perfect, loving, safe world and a perfect, loving, caring God. Blake takes the position that it is only if you are childish and ignorant and are content not to question that you can believe in God and God’s benevolence and that the valid position to take is one of uncertainty as he asks questions in every verse, never answering any of them. Blake implies that the idea of a personal God that cares for us individually is the product of blind faith and childish hope and imagination and that, once you have experienced more of the world, the idea of a callous God that cares little for human life and whose world is certainly not human-centric (this is possibly why Blake chose to centre the poem around an animal – to show that the world from God’s perspective would not revolve around humans, but around nature and natural cruelty) is the truest conclusion one can make.

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