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The Nature of Human Emotion in “The Poison Tree”

Dec 8, 2022 | 0 comments

Dec 8, 2022 | Essays | 0 comments

The Poison Tree is a poem in which William Blake explains human nature. The poison tree is a metaphor that is eye-catching to the reader. Reading through the poem, the reader can understand that anger can be displayed as goodwill or nurtured to destroy. The poem begins by alluding that the speaker is angry with a friend; he, however, speaks to the friend, and the matter is resolved, and, therefore, the anger is resolved (Zamzia & Heidar 114). The speaker is also angry with the enemy this time. However, he does not speak to the enemy; in return, the anger grows. The anger towards the enemy is watered though the speaker acknowledges the fear he had within himself as he watered the anger. The poem poison tree adopts the use of several metaphors. These metaphors explain how anger is nurtured, such as from the line ‘watered….’. The metaphors are used to compare the growth of anger to the feeding nature of a tree. Blake applies multiple metaphors that reflect the growing and maintaining of a tree comparable to the feeding of vanity and hate explored by the speaker. He is forced to wear a plastic smile whenever he meets the foe as he quietly plots revenge. In the final stanza, the anger is full-blown and bears fruits that are the death of his foe.

The tree represents the speaker, and its growth is personified by the anger that grows within him. The tree grows and bears fruits; this means the speaker’s anger has grown and bears fruit by his killing the enemy. At the beginning of the poem, the speaker agrees to the fact that the anger within him is him is growing. He further describes how the anger within him is growing and says that it grows both day and night and later bears fruit. Using this figurative language illustrates the speaker’s recognition of the anger within him as a deadly poisonous tree.

I can connect to the poem personally; most of the time, when angry, I don’t usually speak about it. On most occasions, I don’t usually have any idea how to handle my anger, so I choose to keep it to myself. However, I have learned to let go instead of bottling it in because of the after-consequences. The first and second lines in stanza one have taught me that when I am angry, I should express my feelings to help let go.

This poem applies to all human beings, especially those struggling with anger management. They have two choices to express their anger by talking about it or bottle it up and eventually hurt another person. Blake has employed imagery, figurative language, and metaphors to express his opinion. The poem is simple with very deep meaning attached to our human nature and life events. The poison tree presents both a positive and negative tone through the description of anger.

Overall, “The Poison Tree” reminds us of the importance of healthily expressing and managing our emotions. By not addressing our anger and allowing it to fester, we risk causing harm to ourselves and those around us. On the other hand, actively addressing and resolving our anger can lead to positive outcomes and healthier relationships. Blake’s poem encourages self-reflection on our emotional responses and how we can deal with them in a constructive rather than destructive way.

Works Cited.

Heidar, Davood, and Zamzia, Davoud. “A deconcontruuctional Reading of William’s Blake A poison Tree.” The Southeast Journal of Language and English Studies, Vol 18(4).

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