A Poison Tree Essay Research Paper

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A Poison Tree Essay, Research Paper “Anger,” “wrath,” and “fear” are very prominent in the short sixteen-line piece and engulf you from the start. In this paper, there will be an argument that “A Poison Tree” is a symbol for the lack of restraint and self-control in man. An argument that Blake, if referring to himself in the poem, uses himself as the serpent from the Garden of Eden, except as a serpent with a conscious. The first stanza shows In choosing a poem from the English Romanticism era, I found one that particularly stands among others. A poem that had some depth, in that I couldn t understand and feel what the poem was expressing at first glance. It is a poem that had a sense of mystery around it. These characteristics are exceptionally evident in

William Blake s poem “A Poison tree.” William Blake was a British poet and painter born in 1757 to a father who was hosier. “Anger,” “wrath,” and “fear” are very prominent in the short sixteen-line piece and engulf you from the start. In this paper, there will be an argument that “A Poison Tree” is a symbol for the lack of restraint and self-control in man. An argument that Blake, if referring to himself in the poem, uses himself as the serpent from the Garden of Eden, except as a serpent with a conscious. The first stanza juxtaposes the idea of friend and foe in a rather elegant way. The stanza reads, “I was angry with my friend/ I told my wrath, my wrath did end./ I was angry with my foe/ I told it not, my wrath did grow” (Songs of Experience Pg.38). The

contrast in actions relating to a “friend” in distinction to a “foe,” is the relevant theme in this stanza. The different ways in which Blake, if he indeed is referring to himself in this poem, deals with anger towards a “friend” and conversely towards an adversary is striking. When angry with a friend, Blake is able to control his anger and enclose it in a finite sense. On the other hand, Blake shows little forgiveness for an enemy. Blake s harshness and lack of repentance toward the man in this poem cannot be fully realized until looking at the final two stanzas as well as the illustration. The second stanza reads, “And I waterd it in fears,/ Night & morning with my tears:/ And I sunned it with smiles./ And with soft deceitful wiles” (Songs of Experience

Pg.39). This stanza is completely centered on the tree that the “foe” would later steal an apple from. Blake s is obviously making a symbol and allegory in reference to the Bible and the Garden of Eden. Now the question is whether the Blake s tree symbolizes, from the Bible, the tree of good and evil or the tree of life. Does it even matter which tree was being symbolized here? These are questions that should be answered to fully understand the poem. Some knowledge of the Bible is in order to accomplish this. One tree from the Garden of Eden is the tree of good and evil; this is the tree from which Eve took the fruit (however not an apple) and shared it with Adam. Satan, in the form of a serpent, tempted Eve by telling her that she would be wise and know the difference

between good and evil if she ate the fruit off the tree. The second tree is the tree of life which also contains fruit, that if eaten will bring the eater eternal life. Because Adam and Eve ate from the tree of good and evil, they were not allowed to eat from the tree of life and therefore banished from Eden. From the second stanza alone, it is impossible to make a reference towards what tree is being referred to. Interesting is that Blake states, “And I waterd it in fears” (Songs of Experience Pg.39). Blake s “wrath” was accompanied with “fear.” Fear from what? Could it be the fear from Blake s foe? Or could it be fear that fruit from the tree could be stolen? One can assume that Blake s fear stems for his actions in lines 6-9; “Night & morning with my tears:/