© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.


Symbol Analysis

Flesh has religious significance too. We've already talked a little about the role it plays in the Eucharist, but it has other religious ties as well. Flesh is often associated with physical desires (such as sexual desire), which in Christianity are commonly thought to lead people astray. The use of "flesh" and the excitement surrounding it in this poem definitely has some of that taboo sexual desire feel to it.

  • Lines 5 and 7: So he eats the first one (giving into temptation, perhaps?), and eating the berry makes him lust for more. So maybe it's like how a good first kiss leaves you wanting another.
  • Line 22: The sour flesh could be a Christian-infused metaphor for the bad ending that lusting after flesh always yields and/or it could be a more universal metaphor for aging and impermanence.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...