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In the first stanza of "The Spider and the Fly," the spider tries to convince the fly to come up to his parlour (web), but the fly replies that those who do so never return.
In the second stanza, the spider tries to convince the fly how comfortable his bed is, but the fly responds that those who sleep on his bed never wake again.
In the third stanza, the spider proclaims his affection for the fly and offers what he has in his pantry, but the fly doesn't wish to see it.
In the fourth stanza, the spider offers flattery and a chance for the fly to look upon herself in his mirror. The fly is flattered and says she'll call on him another day.
In the fifth stanza, the spider knows the fly was flattered, so he prepares for her arrival, believing that the fly has begun to trust him. When she returns, he flatters her again to seal the deal.
In the sixth stanza, still enamored with the spider's flattery, the fly gets closer and closer until the spider captures her.
The final stanza is spoken directly to the listener, in this case it is children. The poem is a lesson that some use flattery simply as a way to get what they want or to seduce other people. Although this is a general lesson intended for children, this poem has been interpreted as a cautionary tale for women not to be seduced by manipulative men.
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