A Poison Tree: Poem Commentary

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A Poison Tree: Poem Commentary

By | March 2013
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POEM COMMENTARY
A POISON TREE BY WILLIAM BLAKE
A Poison Tree is a poem written by William Blake which is themed around hate, anger and revenge. The poem is basically a metaphor or a piece of pathetic fallacy wherein the speaker has ascribed his feelings and state of mind to the form of a tree. William Blake wrote a series of poems called Song of Experiences, which were a collection of texts in which he shows the human spirit when it is confirmed to rules, resulting in strong emotions of anger, resentment and hatred. Throughout his life Blake was a dissenter; a rebel from the policies and regimes of the Anglican Church. Influences of this part of his life are seen in his poems as well. In A Poison Tree, the speaker expresses the emotions of hatred and revenge metaphorically using a tree in his garden. The usage of a tree to represent something negative could be influenced by the Bible’s story of Adam and Eve and the tree in the Garden of Eden. The tree in that story bore forbidden fruit, temptation of which resulted in banishment from the heavens. The tree in this poem also bore a tempting fruit, which resulted in death. The poem reads to be in the form of introspection, almost as though the speaker is talking to himself. The audience is not given any hint as to where the speaker is, or if there is another individual he is addressing. The speaker is an ambiguous narrator which means he is not all-knowing, but rather vague. The poem consists of four stanzas and is metaphorical reflection of the speaker’s actions, but in none of the stanzas does the speaker criticize himself. In the first stanza he tells us how he feels differently when he is angry with a friend, which, as he tells us is a contrast to how he feels when he is angry with a foe. We are told that when he is angry with a foe, he keeps it to himself, resulting in his wrath mounting, metaphorically referred to as the growth of a plant. In the second stanza he continues to keep this anger to himself and...