The Sick Rose Analysis

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The Sick Rose Essay

“The Sick Rose” by William Blake is a poem about sexual awakening. This is shown through the use of metaphors and symbolism. The rose is a symbol of love and beauty typically associated with females. The reification of the rose suggests the speaker is addressing a female, the word “sick” suggests that the rose, the female is tainted or diseased in some way. The worm, symbolises temptation, similar to the serpent in the bible that leads Eve astray.

However it also symbolises love, a “dark, secret love” that it gives to the rose. This contrasting imagery shows that the love shared between the rose and the worm, brings pleasure but also hurt or shame to those involved. The idea of secret love links to the worm being described as “invisible” and that “flies in the night”, the relationship is hidden, and takes place after dark, hinting at an idea of sexual repression, that would of shown attitudes of people at the time towards sex. This goes back to the idea of shame, it could be said that the rose is not literally sick, but more morally ill, seen as sick by others and that is what “does her life destroy”.

The “dark love” also suggests feelings or jealousy, aggression and possessiveness. The worm, or the male may of forced himself onto the rose, the female. The “crimson joy” suggests the loss of virginity, the colour crimson could also symbolise blood, therefore symbolising death, the destruction of life, like the life of the rose in the poem, that is said to be destroyed. The “howling storm” could represent the feeling the rose has towards what appears to be her first sexual experience. It could also represent the passion between the worm and the rose. However this passion is destructive, in nature a worm causes flower and plants to rot and decay, similarly the relationship between the man and woman in the poem causes her to become ill. Allowing the worm into her bed secretly, she has committed a moral wrong, and this has led to her...
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