A Poison Tree Essay, Research Paper
A Poison Tree
The narrator speaks of “I” who is of the Old Testament God, renamed by Blake as Urizen, and the poison tree is his Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Instead of merely exploring wrath as the consequence as repressed anger, this poem incarnates wrath as an object. Wrath becomes a poison tree. Or rather, since the tree represents the body this anger becomes a sick and infectious body, which as repressed it into hypocritical and thereby perverted honest emotion into wrath and murder.
“I told it not” Becomes a confession on the narrator’s part reveals that he nurtures his repressed wrath into a tree of deceitful friendship which he intends for his ‘foe, tempting him to steal into his garden and so eat the enticing forbidden fruit.
Blake cultivates his ’snare’, the Tree of Mystery, by watering the ground with selfish fears and tears, from which the tree takes root. Its a angry persona ‘water’d’ his rage in ‘fears, / Night & morning … with tears.
Like both Cruelty [from "The Human Abstract"] and the God of Genesis, sunned becomes a persona resorts to hypocrisy in his creation, sunning his wrath ‘with smiles’. When the symbol of a soft deceitful wiles’. Apple bright. The apple serves as the “poison of the avenger’s hate
The gladness in “glad I see” with which he develops as views his dead victim … makes the malice and sickness of his wrath frighteningly clear.
The poem summation reflects the biblical teachings of a proverb. Therefore, the poison tree can correlate to the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. “And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. … And the Lord God commanded the man saying, of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (KJV 3:9,16-17).
Historically, the poison tree finds its analogue to the Upas tree of Java mentioned by Erasmus Darwin: “Fierce in dread silence on the blasted heath / Fell Upas sits, the Hydra-Tree of Death”.
The Upas tree provided the poison for the blowgun, a “tubular weapon from which projectiles are forcefully propelled by the human breath. … The darts often are notched so that the poisoned tip will break off in the victim. The most common Old World poison is made from the sap of the Upas Tree (Antiaris toxicaria) and kills by cardiac effects”