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The Message Behind "A Poison Tree"

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William Blake was a first generation Romantic poet. He lived a long life in which he wrote a copious amount of poetry (Eaves). Blake was also a painter. This aided Blake’s advancing symbolism; he could paint a lovely picture with his words (Eaves). The poem that I have analyzed is A Poison Tree. Blake strategically placed imagery and personification to hide his underlying truth; do not store up anger because horrible situations will arise. At first glance the poem seems hate filled and that he just wrote it out of revenge or angst, but in reality he is teaching a moral lesson that should be taken very seriously.

Blake’s structure in the poem is interesting in its symbolism. He wrote A Poison Tree in four stanzas. Upon first glance it seems he only did this because it fit his rhyme scheme. With further analysis and in depth understanding, the stanzas symbolize the four seasons of life. The speaker’s emotions of hate and anger also follow the cycle of the seasons.

Spring is a time for youth and immaturity, plants are just a thought. The speaker is angry with his friend, yet they soon overcome this problem. Then the speaker is angry with his foe, he does not tell his foe of this anger so it grows more and more each day (Grimes). Imagery and personification is used throughout the first stanza. When the speaker says “my wrath did end” I got this vivid picture of someone who was turning beat red and had steam coming out of his ears, then it was abruptly cut off and he was happy once again. Then in the last sentence of the first stanza the speaker says “my wrath did grow” this has brought about an image of someone who is so mad yet is stretching at the same time, almost as if to reach the sky, his wrath is taking over.

Summer is...

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Grimes, Linda. "William Blake's A Poison Tree." Suite101.com. Suite101, 27 Oct 2007. Web. 5 Apr 2011.

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Moore, Andrew. "Poems by William Blake-Study Guide." William Blake's Poem. © Andrew Moore, 2002-

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Wyatt, Megan. "William Blake's A Poison Tree." Suite101.com. Suite101, 04 Aug 2008. Web. 5 Apr 2011.

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