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Analysis


Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Form and Meter

While you were reading this poem, you should have noticed a certain bounciness in the language of the lines. That, Shmoopers, is no accident. That's meter at work! But how does it work? Let's take...

Speaker

The speaker wants to share with us. Isn't that nice? He'd like to share with us how he killed his enemy. Dude, we said share, not scare. Still, scaring is really the point of the speaker's story in...

Setting

We get very few details on the setting in this poem. The most identifiable place here is the speaker's garden, which features that bright, shiny anger-apple that lures the foe in: Chomp. Ugh. Thump...

Sound Check

As we discuss in the "Form and Meter" section, Blake's short poem sounds a lot like a nursery rhyme, or a teaching tool to help kids learn a lesson about anger. The rhymes are pretty easy to rememb...

What's Up With the Title?

The title of this poem announces its central metaphor. The poem is called "A Poison Tree," and at the end a "foe" lies "outstretched beneath a tree" (16) after eating the (possibly poisoned) apple...

Calling Card

Okay. Let's face it: "A Poison Tree" isn't the most pleasant poem in the word. It's about a guy who gets really angry and then eventually delights in the death of his "foe." Isn't that nice? No it...

Tough-o-Meter

From a technical standpoint, "A Poison Tree" is not a very difficult poem. Blake doesn't use any strange or obsolete words, and his sentences are short and memorable. Indeed, at times it seems that...

Trivia

Many people thought Blake was a lunatic. One of the most famous poets of the day—Robert Southey (whom nobody cares about anymore)—referred to him as a man of "great but undoubtedly insane geniu...

Steaminess Rating

"A Poison Tree" isn't a sexual poem at all. It is a bit violent, though. Even though it's never clearly explained just how the speaker's enemy gets laid out under the tree, we're guessing he's not...

Allusions

Book of Genesis (Title; 9-11)
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