Summary and theme of the poem A Poison Tree written by William Blake


A Position Tree 

 William Blake (1757-1827)

In this article, I have explained the summary and theme of the poem position tree written by William Blake. This poem is included in the syllabus of graduate students of Punjab University. A poison tree is a very important poem from the examination point of view. If a student prepares the summary and theme of the poem he will attempt almost every question selected by the examiner in the examination.


William Blake is a mystic poet. In his early poems,” Songs of innocence and songs of experience” he deals with the ugliness of life and discusses the ways to arrive at the world of beauty and order.  It is the force of vision and imagination that restores balance and order in life. The soul of man is corrupted by evil passions of anger, hatred, and malice. If we conquer these evil passions, we can create a happy world and a wonderland of bliss for us. His mysticism is governed by forces of order, beauty, and harmony

A Position tree is a symbolic poem, burdened with a moral message the poet advises the reader not to nourish anger and hatred against our friends and foes. He preaches love against hatred, trust against misunderstanding.

 The poet was angry with his friends. It was the result of some misunderstanding. He talked to his friend about his anger and the misunderstanding between them was soon over. It was a discussion about the misunderstanding which destroyed anger. The poet points out that it is always desirable to discuss the cause of misunderstanding with a friend. We should not let anger pile up and lead it to enmity. The poet was angry with his foe. He did not discuss the cause of anger with him. The anger continued to grow.

The poet did another folly. He did not give vent to his anger but continued to nourish it with fear, suspicion, and doubt. He met his friend with a smile on his face, but inwardly he was angry with him. The poet kept watering the plant of anger with hatred and suspicion. Soon it grew to be a tree. The tree bore an apple bright of hatred. The brightness of the apple attracted his enemy and he stole it in the darkness of night. In the morning his foe was dead. The poet advises us to love humanity.

The theme of the poem

In the poem, the poet tells that he was angry with his friend. So, he gave vent to his feelings of anger in front of his friend. It provided them a chance to understand each other, and the dispute between them was resolved.

The poet got angry with his enemy. He did not share the reason for his anger with his enemy. This anger served as a seed. The poet nourished this seed with deceitful smiles and sunned it with all his hatred and malice.

 At last, it grew into a tree that bore a golden fruit. The enemy who had the same intensity of hatred or the poet decided to deprive the poet of this fruit. He stole into the garden at night and ate the fruit of the poison tree. In the morning, the poet felt happy to see the dead body of his enemy lying under the poison tree.

The poem is a mystic piece of writing. Blake, mystically, lays stress upon the need of development of a society where there is no hatred and lack of confidence.

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