Logan Brand and Cameron Ruether
 Living
in Britain, Blake wrote in one of the
most liberal countries in Europe and the entire
world. Despite this, England was still a very
aristocratic society with a burgeoning middle
class and an urban working class living in
squalor. He lived in a politically charged age
during which the French and American
revolutions occurred, both of which were
rebellions against monarchy. Although an initial
supporter of the revolutions, Blake soon
became disillusioned with them when he found
that they had merely replaced monarchy with
unrestrained mercantilism rather than
remedying the abuses of class power.

As a Dissenter, Blake was hostile towards the Church
of England and the English monarchy, finding that
both institutions used religious dogma and the claim
of divine authority as a means of controlling the
public. He was also disgusted by industrialism,
specifically by how it treated workers as machinery
and alienated them from their work. Such liberal
ideas were widespread at the time as many
intellectuals called for labour reform after witnessing
how cruelly the working class was treated. Many of
Blake’s Songs of Experience reflect his feelings
towards the oppression of the working class. The
more naturalistic elements of Blake’s ideals would
pervade the arts during the Romantic era (Blake is
often seen as a pre-Romantic poet for this reason).
 Allegorical
 Songs
of Experience
 Symbolism used extensively






Chapel
Green
Flowers
Graves
Priests
Briars
 First


Stanza
Attempt at Love
Shock at what has changed
 Second


Realization of impact
Reminiscent of past experiences
 Third


Stanza
Stanza
Dreadful understanding
Lifelong impact

Anaphora
And
 Internal Rhyme


Imagery

Chapel


Green


Death, loss.
Priests


Pleasure, relationships, love.
Graves


Innocence of youth. “play”
Flowers


Represents the Church and it’s role as a societal authority figure.
Also represents it’s oppressive role.
Interlopers, Interference.
Briars

Painful rules and restrictions.
 Other

Blake rebelling against the church.


Interpretations
Clergy members are holier than common worshippers
Blake relieving anger toward fatherly society

Priests represented selfish, hypocritical, fatherly, etc.
individuals
http://123nonstop.com/pictures/Poison_Tree
http://idolator.com/tag/poison
http://idiotboard.blogspot.com/

First Stanza: here Blake compares anger with friends versus
anger with foes.

-Anaphora

(I was…/I told…/I was…/I told…)

Second Stanza: Blake frets and worries causing the anger to
grow stronger

-Metaphor

The anger is treated as though it is a cultivated plant.

Third Stanza: Blake’s anger continues to grow “Till it bore an apple
bright.”

-Symbolism/Allusion

The Fruit of Knowledge (Biblical myth).

Fourth Stanza: The foe creeps into the garden and presumable dies.

-Symbolism

The foe (assumedly) dies when he/she steals the apple
(symbolizing knowledge of Blake’s anger).
 “A
Poison Tree” appeared in Blake’s Songs of
Experience (1794). This establishes that the
poem will have a bitter message and tone.
 Blake’s techniques tend to be quite simple.


(AABB CCDD EEFF GGHH)
diction is almost entirely made up of mono- and
disyllabic words, which is not unexpected for this
poet.

Bloom, Harold. William Blake. USA: Chelsea House Publishers,
1985.

http://www.suite101.com/content/william-blakes-a-poison-treea63118

http://www.eliteskills.com/analysis_poetry/A_Poison_Tree_by_W
illiam_Blake_analysis.php

http://www.suite101.com/content/willilam-blakes-a-poisontree-a34108

http://www.novelguide.com/a/discover/pfs_0000_0024_0/pfs_0
000_0024_0_00023.html
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Blake`s The Garden of Love and A Poison Tree