English Literature - Poems - A Poison Tree

A Poison Tree - William Blake - Quotes

  • "poison tree" - Blake often compares his wrath to a "poison tree" in a methaphorical sense. This shows how it was a toxic emotion that simply caused him and others harm.
  • "I told my wrath, my wrath did end." - When he voiced his frustrations to his friend he was able to make amends and rid himself of his anger.
  • "I told it not, my wrath did grow." - He states that when he concealed the anger toward his "foe", it grew and became much worse.
  • "I watered it in fears, night and morning with my tears" - He deliberately cultivates his anger, allowing it to grow from "fears" and "tears".  Both "fears" and "tears" connote negativity. That something can grow from such things shows that it cannot be in any way amiable, showing that the poet views anger as something damaging and toxic.
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A Poison Tree - William Blake - Quotes

  • "it grew both day and night" - Shows it is unceasing, continually getting stronger and stronger. - It also shows that it is very abnormal as trees do not typically grow without sunlight yet thing one grows at night despite this. This enforces the fact that this anger is not something that should be growing.
  • "my foe outstretched beneath the tree" - The "apple" that has grown from the "tears", "fears" and "deceitful wiles" had grown so toxic and deadly that it killed his "foe" upon eating it. This emphasises how nothing good can come from growing anger.
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A Poison Tree - William Blake - Structure

  • Follows a strict rhythmic pattern - Trochaic Trimeter and Iambic Tetrameter - Deviates from the pattern in lines 2, 4 + 16 (8 syllables as opposed to 7). - (Line 2 - "I told my wrath, my wrath did end." - Line 4 - I told it not, my wrath did grow - Line 6 - "My foe outsretched beneath the tree.") - This links these lines together and thus emphasises the fact that the concealment of his anger was the sole cause of his foe's death. This again shows that nothing good has come from anger.
  • Rhyming Couplets
  • Quatrains (4 lines per stanza)
  • End Stopped Rhyme (lines end with a definitive punctuation mark e.g. ; / .) -Enforeces the poets point + makes it sound more definitive.
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