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Form and Meter in The Tyger

            At first glance, it may seem as though William Blake's "The Tyger" ends as it begins: that the first verse is identical to the last. However, we then see that this is not quite true – there is one crucial difference in words: a change of the word "could" for the word "dare" as well as a difference in punctuation: there is no comma after "Tyger! Tyger!" in the last verse. The fact that the poem ends with a (near) repetition of its first verse gives it a structure of periphery (the two outer verses, A and F), and core verses (B – E). Given that the two last questions in the core verses, the two yes-no questions of lines 19 and 20, are of such central conceptual importance in the poem, I read the poem with the intention of finding any techniques Blake employed in highlighting these two moments. And then, if he did so, looking at what significance the emphasis carried for the overall poem.
             To begin with a macroscopic look at the poem, we note that it has thirteen questions (i.e., sentence fragments): seven question marks in the first half, and six in the second – an almost perfect numerical equilibrium. There is one further question which ends in a major mark of punctuation – the last question of the fourth verse, which is the only question to end in an exclamation point. Therefore, we actually have a total of fourteen questions. The majority of these questions begin with either "what" or "when", and thus it is interesting that only the two questions in lines 19 and 20 are to be answered with either yes or no. If we exclude the two almost identical questions of the periphery then, the most crucial moment of the poem falls to the uncomfortable question of "Did he who made the Lamb make thee?".
             There are a multitude of ways in which Blake sets off both the fifth stanza, which contains the climactic questions, and then within the stanza itself, line 20.

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