Explain in detail the summary of the poem "The Spider and the Fly" by Mary Howitt.

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The spider flatters the fly to trap her into his parlor, and the fly is never seen again. While the fly at first rejects the spider's offers of food and comfort, she is tricked when he flatters her appearance. The poem ends with the speaker addressing the readers, telling them to never fall victim to flattery. 


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In Howitt's 1828 children's poem, a spider tries different strategies to entice a fly into its home so he can kill and eat it. The spider is pictured as a smooth-talking gentleman and the fly as a female.

The spider initially tries to appeal to the fly's sense of curiosity to lure her into his home, but she sidesteps visiting him, saying she knows that those who go up to the parlor never come back down again. The spider next appeals to the fly's weariness, offering to tuck her into a bed with fine sheets. The fly repeats that she knows if she takes him up on the offer, she will never be seen again.

The spider now turns to offering the fly food from his pantry, but again his reputation as a dangerous insect deters her. She still refuses to enter his home. Finally, the spider moves from appealing to comforts and directly flatters the fly, calling her witty and wise and praising her looks. He offers her a chance to gaze at herself in his mirror.

The fly has done well so far at sidestepping the spider's enticements, but now begins to weaken, saying she'll return. The spider knows he has her now and spins a web in the corner of his room.

Soon after, the fly returns. Thinking only about her own beauty, she comes close enough that the spider can seize and drag her to his "dismal parlor." She is never seen again.

The poem ends with a direct address from the speaker to the children listening to the poem. They are warned to ignore flattery and "take a lesson" from this didactic poem. The poem also functions as a warning to women to sidestep the flattery of smooth-talking, predatory men.

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In stanza one, the spider does its best to entice the fly into its parlor with the promise of pretty things to see. The fly refuses and says it will never visit, because it knows whoever goes there is never seen again.

In stanza two, the spider tries a different tactic, offering the fly a pretty and comfortable place to sleep. Again, the fly refuses, citing the disappearance of others who have accepted this offer.

In stanza three, the spider asks what it can do to prove its motives are pure; it offers lovely food to the fly, but once again, the fly refuses, saying it...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 798 words.)

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