This a short written analysis of “A Poison Tree”
I would like some feedback before the 12th of June (this Friday) which is when my english exam is on.
Thanks, Jason Li 10L
“A Poison Tree” by William Blake is a relatively short but interesting poem. The poem is the narrator telling the story of two scenarios. The first and also shorter scenario is the narrator being angry with his friend and telling the friend about the anger which has no consequences. The second scenario is the narrator being angry with his enemy. He doesn’t tell the anger and it grows stronger. The narrator’s foe is eventually poisoned and killed by an apple that the tree bore. This explains the satisfied tone of the poem as it written in the past tense. By the end of the poem his revenge is complete so he is satisfied.
The narrator has already experienced both scenarios and the purpose of the poem is to teach others and for them to not repeat the same mistake. This can be seen clearly through the title of the poem. The use of the word “A” instead of “The” is significant. The tree can only refer to one tree and cannot be any other tree but a tree can be any tree. This is to imply that what happened to the narrator can happen to anybody and is not just his own experience.
The poem has quite a simple structure. The poem is comprised of four quatrains each one with the rhyme scheme of AABB. This means that for each stanza the first two lines rhyme and the last two lines rhyme. This links up the two lines and better expresses the meaning. The story of the narrator is also told mainly in two line blocks such as the first two; “I was angry with my friend; / I told my wrath, my wrath did end.” The second line explains the first and is rhymed. The poem is also written in iambic tetrameter which means that each line has four feet of an unstressed and stressed syllable making eight syllables in total (4 stressed and 4 unstressed). An example would be the second line;
“I told my wrath, my wrath did end” As shown, every second syllable is stressed which adds a certain flow to it and is easier to read and understand.
The most notable techniques used are metaphors and personification. The poison tree is the central metaphor as it is not actually referring to a tree but the narrator’s anger which can “grow day and night”. This is a personification as although a tree can grow anger cannot. This just refers to the narrator’s anger becoming stronger. This metaphor continues throughout the entire poem and there are many references to it such as the narrator watering the tree in fears. A tree can be “waterd” to help it grow but this refers to the reader helping his fear to grow stronger.
William Blake has effectively used the central metaphor of a tree being his anger for an enemy to convey his past experiences. Through this poem he warns us about keeping a grudge.