It then goes on to liken the making of a tiger to the dangerous process of fashioning molten metal from the furnace with hammer and anvil. In the fifth verse the poet asks the question: ‘Did he smile his work to see? Did he who made the Lamb make thee?’ Blake implies that it was God who made both the gentle lamb and the ferocious tiger, but that he may regret having created so fierce a beast as the latter. The concluding verse of the poem is identical to the opening verse, giving the poem itself ‘symmetry’, but note that in line 4 ‘could’ has been replaced by ‘dare’.
The Songs of Innocence and of Experience were intended by Blake to show ‘the two contrary states of the human soul’. ‘The Tyger’ is the contrary poem to ‘The Lamb’ in the Songs of Innocence. ‘The Lamb’ is about a kindly God who ‘calls himself a Lamb’ and is himself meek and mild. The tiger, by contrast, is a terrifying animal ‘burning’ with fire in its eyes. The poet therefore finds it hard to believe that the same God who created the gentle lamb would also make the ‘dread’ tiger. If the lamb represents Divine love, what might the tiger represent? Some commentators think it represents the anger of God, some think it represents the aggressive, war-mongering spirit of mankind, others think it represents man’s imagination and creative urges. The poem consists of a series of questions that are never fully answered, circling round us in just the same way as a tiger stalks its prey. Even at the end no answer is given: the last verse just sends us back to the same question with which we started.