Q.1.   If we forgive others, there will be no need for poison tree. Discuss.

Or     What is the symbolic value of poison tree?

Or     What message does the poet want to give his reader in ” A poison tree”?


In this poem, William Blake teaches a moral lesson of great importance. He compares anger and hatred to a poison tree. He says when anger is expressed it vanishes but when it is concealed it grows rapidly and becomes a poison tree. If we forgive others, there will be no need for a poison tree.

The poem is built on an everlasting conflict between good and evil. This evil is an outcome of a lack of trust between friends and enemies. Friends can forget and forgive, but enemies nurse grudges.

Since we do not talk to our enemies, our enmity and hatred grow rapidly. We nurse our misunderstandings with fears and strengthen them with our wicked tricks. We adopt many ways to tempt and deceive our enemies.

Sometimes they fail to see the dirty tricks and fall a victim to our evil designs. When we see them fallen and defeated, we feel happy and proud of our success. Disgrace and destruction of one give special pleasures to the other.

In our madness to take revenge from our opponents, we indulge in many vices and misdeeds. We should not conceal our anger for others but express it frankly so that the poison tree of destruction may not come into being.208


Q.2.   Poison is in fact unexcused anger and wrath. Elaborate.


This is a symbolic poem. It depicts a poison tree which was a tree of hatred grown by the poet for his enemy. Concealed anger is turned into hatred and then into a beautiful tree. When an enemy tries to steal that beautiful tree, he loses his life.

Once, the poet was angry with his friend. He told him his wrath and it ended. On the other hand, when he got angry with his enemy, he concealed his anger instead of telling him. The result was that his anger went on increasing and turned into haltered. He watered his tree of anger with his tears of anger. He nourished it with the sun of smiles and deceitful tricks. In this way, his tree of anger kept on increasing and bore a beautiful apple fruit. It went on growing day and night. Outwardly this fruit was very attractive but inwardly it was poisonous. When his enemy saw this shining and attractive fruit, he was deceived. He knew that it was grown by the poet. He decided to deprive the poet of his apple and became a victim of his anger. He entered the garden of the poet at night and at that fruit. The next morning when the poet found his foe lying dead under the poisonous tree, he became happy. In this way, he victimized his foe.

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