A Poison Tree - A William Blake Piece

A Poison Tree - A William Blake Piece

William Blake was an English poet who was born in eighteen century, the Renaissance period. He had an inherent talent of making art works, mostly engravings. William was raised in a strong Christian family, thus, had made him ardently worship to God. As being an artist, he was susceptible to everything in his daily life. Every tree and bush could be an inspiration of his next work. A Poison Tree, which was written in 1794, was one of his literary productions. In this poem, the poet illustrates the seriousness of growing hatred from a foe and the innermost struggle held during the critical time period.

I will say the first stanza is like a briefly introduction of this poem Words like angry, wrath, friend and foe give us a basic notion. But he explicitly claimed that he is going to discover more deeply about the growing wrath from a foe, because there is no point continuing a matter that “did end”. Therefore, as a reader, I got curious of what will happen when he “was angry with his foe” (line 3), and “his wrath did grow” (line 4). Notice that the first and second lines rhymes to each other as well as the third and the forth. This could be a trick that the poet tried to help readers make a connection of the relation between “friend” and “end”, “foe” and “grow”. Also, the first stanza is the only section that has regular syllables (7878). The purpose of doing this might be another tactic to attract readers’ attention.

Once the quarrel happened with a foe, the seed of wrath was planted, and started to germinate. Since he didn’t show any expression or action of this affair, and the foe might don’t even perceive such a problem, this awkwardly unsolved situation had made the fury plant grow secretly and furtively strong and powerful. Fear literally means scare or afraid of. The person was afraid that his foe would find out the existence of the tree, and would take an offensive action to him, put himself into a potentially dangerous condition. Moreover, he fertilized the tree “night and morning with his tears” (line 6). Tear exhibits fragile, delicate, sensitive and emotional, therefore, reflects the personalities that the man possessed. He was easily affected by other external influences. He barely offended others even if he was the victim. He was the kind of person who only silently tolerates and doesn’t utter a sound or a word rather than stands out to defend himself. In addition, tear can also reveal that the man was kindhearted. He felt guilty letting the wrath of the tree grow. He felt sorry for himself having such an evil thought. However, he chose to cover it up with smiles and wiles, which mean that he still behaved friendly toward his foe, pretended there was nothing happened. Even though he was conscious that every smile and kindness he showed to his foe was fake and deceitful, he somehow tacitly agreed and allowed it to keep happening.

As we all realize fake friendship cannot last forever. Sooner or later, the foe is going to notice that. Since the tree was nourished persistently “both day and night” (line 9), the fruits of its own must look delicious and desirable. According to the biological theory, the more colorful an organism has, the more poisonous it could be, such as ladybugs, snacks and wisteria. The bright and flesh redness of the apple eventually caught the foe’s attention. Again, although the foe might understand the danger of eating the apple from the tree, which matured in his equivocal “friend’s” garden, considered the attitude and behavior that his “friend” had given him, which was friendly and amiable, he unloaded his suspicion. Hence, we can say that the motivation of his desire towards the apple was justified. Notice that the syllables in this stanza are all sevens and the previous and following lines rhymes to each other, same as the second stanza. Read aloud, you can hear that they are very fluent and flowing. It helps readers build a clear understanding and ability to follow the poem.

The last stanza is the climax of this poem. It ends up the greed of his foe put himself closer to the death and finally taken away from the death. As we generally think, stealing usually happens during the dark night. Veil means to cover up and conceal from someone. The poet used this word trying to distinguish him from causing the death of his foe. Because it was in a vaguely dark night, supposedly he had an excuse of not being there and knowing what was going on at that night. Thus, he cannot be a suspect of murdering the foe. However, when the morning comes (morning generally means a brand-new start), implies that everything was back to usual. He saw his foe “outstretched beneath the tree” (line 16), and his reaction was happy and satisfied. According from the movie or what we have seen on TV news, whenever a person surrenders, he is expected to drop off his weapons and put his hands across his head. The position that the poet depicted the foe, “outstretched”, was similar to the situation we’ve known above. Extending his arms and legs shows that he has no threat to the man anymore. And by reading the preceding content, we can make a conclusion that the foe ate the apple on the poison tree, and was gone forever. It’s also ironic that he finished his live in his “enemy’s” territory.

Despite the limited words that the poet used, digest it carefully, we can receive more than we thought we could. To sum up the poem, I strongly believe that the anger is not the key message that the poet was intending to convey. Instead, he was trying to display a more important material which is the suppression of the anger. People often neglect the seriousness of the repression of the anger and let it lead to the cultivation of the anger. Consequently, they struggle among the wrath, forgiveness and guiltiness.

Works Cited
Black William, “A Poison Tree.” Literature for Composition. Eighth edition. Barnet Sylvan, Burto William, and Cain E. William New York 2008