“A Poison Tree”: The Fruit of One’s Saber

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During a period of Romanticism and a strong appreciation for literature, William Blake proved to the literary world that “Imagination is a doorway to the infinite.” Blake was more than just your average poet; he was a creator of beauty. His work came alive through the words and illustrations he hand made and published. Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience are Blake’s two symphonies of words that convey the juxtaposing ideas of human nature. “The Poison Tree” is the perfect representation of the experience aspect of Blake’s work due to the way it pulls the reader to ”disillusionment with human nature and society.” It leaves the reader in awe of the capability of humans and causes us to reflect on our own decadent actions in correlation to one of the seven deadly sins; the wrath of human beings.

This poem is set in the speaker’s garden, a sacred place where he can assess his relationships and harvest his emotions. The speaker seems to be just an average man speaking on behalf of his personal experience and sharing this with his audience. Due to the simplicity of the poem’s theme we can assume the audience was intended to be humans in general, Blake wanted the message to be clear to everyone. As readers we can easily relate to the idea of holding a grudge against our enemies and letting it fester inside.

We are drawn in from the first rhyming couplet, “I was angry with my friend: I told my wrath, my wrath did end.” because of the connection we feel; it’s a situation we have all been in. And due to the exact rhyme, we are led to view it as an almost “Mother Goose” story, yet we soon realize it’s not your average storybook moral. (Heims) This couplet is soon contrasted with the slight change from “I told my wrath, my wrath d...

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...ng us know that we are capable of greatness but we are also capable of destruction. This ties into Blake’s idea of organized innocence, “One’s sense of the divinity of humanity coexisting with oppression and injustice.” which to me means that we can believe that people are honestly good, but we can’t ignore the bad in the world because it plays a key role as well. We must become confident in our ability and unafraid of what lies ahead and then we can realize our full potential as a human race.

Works Cited

Heims, Neil. Critical Essay on "A Poison Tree," in Poetry for Students, Thomson Gale, 2006.

Moore, Andrew. "Poems by William Blake - study guide." Teach It. Andrew Moore, 2004. Web. 3 Apr 2011. .

Respeck, . " William Blake "A Poison Tree"." 09 03 2005. Online Posting to eCheat . Web. 3 Apr 2011.

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