ENGL 3315 Lecture 6: 2-2-2017 The Tyger

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ENGL 3315
Romanticism is about a new kind of art, but it also is based upon a system of values
In The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, Blake challenges the concepts of good and evil, this
work falls under satire, satire being the literary art of ridicule.
o Not all satire is comic, when a satirist uses humor, they use it as a weapon, to
make us rethink some of our assumptions
o In The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, Blake adopts the voice of the devil
o Because he thinks the world is so far from his ideal, Blake uses hyperbole to make
his point
o In Blake’s view, god is not the true god, he is starry jealous, a repressive force
The Tyger
o Argument from design philosophical concept, states that if you want to know
what the creator is like, look at what he created. He is mirrored by his creations.
o Blake argues that where man is not nature is barren, so man projects his concepts
onto nature and the creations of god so Blake is denying that there is a design
out there. The creations that exist do not have meaning apart from our perception.
What god created doesn’t mean shit, what matters is our projections onto
o The speaker in experience is using the argument from design
o Blake would argue that the tiger does mirror the creator, but man assumes the
tiger is evil
o The tiger in the poem is an assemblage of projections, of perceptions and ideas
o The tiger’s eyes are interpreted as fire
o Burning brightness of the tiger the brightness and heat of fire
o Fire of the apocalypse being the prelude to millennium. The French revolution
being interpreted as the apocalypse. The fire of the tiger representing the French
o Morn, light, eternity, millennium, rises from within us, but is restricted by
oppressive forces
o In terms of the four zoas, the tiger is desire and imagination
o “in what distant deeps or skies burnt the fire of thine eyes?” – is the tiger a
product of heaven or hell? god or satan?
o Lucifer lux, lucis means “light”, ferro – means “bear” – light bearer
Lucifer as the light bearer, the bearer of imagination
o Icarus in greek mythology, icarus’s father is an artist
o Lucifer and Icarus fall because they reached for the sun, they aspire for something
higher, and because they aspire, they fall.
o Prometheus stole fire for the humans, fire symbolizing knowledge. This
knowledge was forbidden to mortals so the other gods chained Prometheus to a
rock for his liver to be pecked at by vultures.
o Hephaestus was thrown out of mount Olympus and became a cripple
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