In Edward Taylor’s poem, Upon A Spider Catching A Fly, he questions the reasons behind why the spider chooses to catch the fly.
“To spin a web out of thyselfe
To Catch a Fly?
For Why?” (Lines 3-5)
A spider works hard to spin its web. It takes lots of time and uses materials that are made by the spider itself just to catch a fly. What benefits does the spider get from catching the fly? Why does it only catch flies? Why not other bugs? In the second stanza, Taylor asks why the spider doesn’t catch wasps? Perhaps, it is because of his the sting the wasp can provide. If the wasp were to get caught, the spider could be harmed in the process.
“Lest he should fling
His sting.” (Lines 9-10)
While the fly is innocent and weak, the wasp is dangerous which ultimately makes it evil and bad. This view that objects that are dangerous and threatening are evil is a puritan view. But while the wasp is evil, it is a different evil than what the spider is. One could compare the net or web of the spider as hell. It’s a death trap that has no happy ending and that the spider is the devil. Therefore, the fly could be compared to a human that gets caught by the devil in its web. The devil is after the weak who cannot escape it easily and that is why the spider goes after the weak little fly.
“Whereas the silly Fly,
Caught by its leg” (Lines 21-22)
And for nature’s reasons is why the spider goes after the fly as opposed to the wasp.
“This goes to pot, that not
Nature doth call.
Strive not above what strength hath got
Lest in the brawle
Thou fall.” (Lines 26-30)
Nature tells its inhabitants not to overestimate one’s self because he or she has a bigger chance of losing. The spider knows that it cannot fight the wasp and so it doesn’t because it does not want to lose.
“To tangle Adams race
To their Destruction, spoil’d, made base
By venom things
Damn’d sins.” (Lines 36-40)
Taylor implies that we may all be born...
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