The Tiger | Major English – XII

The Tiger

-William Blake

Stanza 1 Summary

What immortal being created this terrifying creature which, with its perfect proportions (symmetry), is an awesome killing machine? 

Stanza 2 Summary

Was it created in hell (distant deeps) or in heaven (skies)? If the creator had wings, how could he get so close to the fire in which the tiger was created? How could he work with so blazing a fire?

Stanza 3 Summary

What strength (shoulder) and craftsmanship (art) could make the tiger’s heart? What being could then stand before it (feet) and shape it further (hand)?

Stanza 4 Summary

What kind of tool (hammer) did he use to fashion the tiger in the forge fire? What about the chain connected to the pedal which the maker used to pump the bellows? What of the heat in the furnace and the anvil on which the maker hammered out his creation? How did the maker muster the courage to grasp the tiger? 

Stanza 5 Summary

When the stars cast their light on the new being and the clouds cried, was the maker pleased with his creation?

Stanza 6 Summary

The poet repeats the the central question of the poem, stated in Stanza 1. However, he changes could (line 4) to dare (line 24). This is a significant change, for the poet is no longer asking who had the capability of creating the tiger but who dared to create so frightful a creature.