Summary of William Blake’s A Poison Tree

A Poison Tree is a poem written by William Blake.


The speaker’s wrath against his friend ended because it was given an outlet. But when the speaker got annoyed with his enemy, he did not express his wrath, with the result that his wrath went on mounting. In this case also the wrath would have subsided if he had expressed it to his enemy.

The speaker cherished and nursed his wrath. He imagined that his enemy was planning to do damage to him. His fear of his enemy caused him much suffering, and this suffering further whetted his wrath against the enemy. He then put on a mask of friendship towards his enemy. He pretended warmth of feeling towards him and smiled whenever he met that man. He became a trickster and tried to give his enemy the impression that he was his well-wisher. But inwardly he continued to feel more and more hostile to the man.

The speaker’s wrath went on growing but outwardly he kept up his pose of friendship. His wrath eventually bore a fruit in the form of a bright apple. When his enemy saw it, he made up his mind to rob the speaker of this apple because he too had inwardly remained hostile to the speaker.

The enemy entered the speaker’s garden in the darkness of the night and stole the apple. But when he ate it, he dropped down dead because the apple was poisonous. In the morning the speaker felt glad to see his enemy lying dead beneath the apple tree. The speaker’s purpose had been served.

The speaker’s pose of friendship had deceived the enemy into thinking that he stood in no danger. Feeling safe, the enemy tried to do damage to the speaker because the enemy’s hostility too had remained unabated. But the enemy fell into the speaker’s trap and met a disastrous end.

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