A Poison Tree

January 14, 2017 General Studies

In the poem ???A Poison Tree??? by William Blake there is a focus on the cultivation of anger by the speaker. If the poem were to be considered in a religious context than the speaker is portrayed as God. This poem contains four stanzas that each have four lines. This poem has a double rhyme scheme which means that the first two lines and last two lines of each stanza rhyme.
The speaker was angry with one of their friends and one of their enemies. The speaker discussed the reason for their anger with their friends which allowed it to fade away. However, the speaker did not discuss and instead contained their wrath toward their enemy which led to it to grow. This section of the poem has a life lesson or moral. It exemplifies how when anger is confronted it can be resolved but if it is ignored it will only get worse. The speaker is withholding their feelings which caused them to intensify. There are some words in this stanza that have a negative connotation, such as foe, wrath, and angry. This draws the reader??™s attention to the negative feelings of the stanza. Those words also lead to certain uneasiness. However there are some words that counteract this feeling such as friend. If the speaker is supposed to portray God than the ???foe??? can be seen as Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden or simply humankind itself. Blake also uses personification to give the human or plant trait growing to wrath. This shows how the wrath is a force of its own and how the speaker is able to amplify it with his actions.
In stanza two the wrath is being watered every day and night by the speaker??™s fears and tears. It is also being sunned with the speakers smiles and plotting thoughts. Blake chose to portray the wrath as a plant or tee. Since the speaker is suppressing their anger they are becoming afraid and having scheming ideas. These actions are acting as fuel or food of the speaker??™s wrath and are ???feeding??? the plant allowing it to grow. This also shows how Blake is fearful of the actions of others. This stanza has a great contrast of words with positive and negative connotations. There are words that show enragement such as tears, fears, and deceitful wiles. However, there are also words that show a more benevolent light such as sunned, smiles, and soft. This shows how the tree??™s growing is masked by innocence but what is causing the tree to grow is a cultivation of anger.
In stanza three the tree continues to grow until it grew an apple. When the speaker??™s enemy saw it he knew exactly who the apple belonged to. The speaker??™s anger has grown into something that tempts the enemy. The speaker is plotting against the enemy by trying to trick them into taking the apple. The apple in the poem represents a collection of the hard feelings and bitterness the speaker has toward the foe. The speaker is hiding his malicious feelings toward his foe and is pretending to be friendly. It is similar to the forbidden fruit in the story of The Fall of Mankind with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. The fruit of knowledge which originally seemed to be good turns out to be something that Eve is punished for.
In the last stanza, the enemy sneaks into the garden of the speaker after darkness. The enemy than tries to steal the apple only to be discovered dead happily by the speaker in the morning. The taking of the fruit by the enemy led to his death while similarly when Adam and Eve took the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden they doomed mankind. The apples temptation was too much for the enemy and by taking it he unleashed the speakers pent up wrath. The “shine” of the apple shows its temptation and how the enemy was distracted and fell into the speakers trap. Also, the tree which is usually a symbol for life takes on a more negative meaning of death when the fruit that it grew killed the foe.
To stifle anger will only cause the anger to grow in size and strength. This poem displays how a cultivation of anger between the speaker and his foe led to distruction and death. It causes the reader to wonder what would have happened if the speaker and the foe had discussed the reasons for the tension between them. This poem, while it seems simple on the surface, when further analyzed has more to offer. Its biblical references are intriguing and up for individual interpretation. This poem would be interesting to anyone who knows the background story of Adam and Eve and are able to make the religious connections. It would also be well recieved by little kids in helping them learn about conflict resolution.


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