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What is a figure of speech in "A Poison Tree" by William Blake?

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In "A Poison Tree" by William Blake, a key figure of speech is the metaphor, where anger is compared to a growing tree. The poem explores how suppressed anger, symbolized by the tree, festers and grows when nourished by fears and deceit. Ultimately, this metaphorical tree bears a fruit that represents the destructive outcome of unresolved wrath, highlighting the poem’s theme of the dangers of harbored anger.

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The poem uses a metaphor to compare anger to a tree.

A figure of speech is the use of language that is not literal.  In the case of this poem, the entire poem is figurative.  The poem compares a tree to a person’s feelings.  The poem uses metaphor, which is a comparison between two things. The tree becomes a metaphorical representation of the anger.

The poem describes the speaker’s wrath.  When he does not tell anyone that he is angry, the anger just festers like a growing tree. 

And I waterd it in fears,

Night & morning with my tears: 

And I sunned it with smiles,

And with soft deceitful wiles. (Stanza 2)

The metaphor the speaker uses is to say that he watered his anger and his anger grew.  He watered it with his tears, meaning that as he cried and fretted about whatever it was that made him angry, the anger grew and grew. The speaker did not literally plant anger, and it is not literally growing. That is why we call it a figure of speech.

And it grew both day and night. 
Till it bore an apple bright. 
And my foe beheld it shine,
And he knew that it was mine.  (Stanza 3)
Something that is figurative can still be represented by something literal.  For example, the speaker can plant a tree, and compare it to his anger.  He could be using the tree to lure his enemy in, so that he can kill him with poisoned fruit.  More likely he is acting on his anger.   The poem is a metaphor for what happens when we let our anger fester instead of dealing with it.  We get angrier and angrier until we act on our anger, and possibly even kill the person who is making us angry.  Anger is a poison, and it can lead to destruction both of the angry person and the object of his anger.
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Identify a figure of speech used in the poem "A Poison Tree."

The speaker claims, in the first stanza, that when he refused to discuss his anger with his foe, his "wrath" and anger grew. He then says that he

water'd it in fears,
Night & morning with [his] tears:
And [he] sunned it with smiles,
And with soft deceitful wiles.

This is the poison tree of the title, the tree that grows a bright and beautiful apple. This tree is a metaphor, as it does not literally exist, but he compares his growing wrath to this poison tree in order to demonstrate how wrath and resentment, when unresolved, can become a truly destructive force. His wrath is fed by his willingness to deceive his enemy with his tears and smiles. A metaphor is a comparison of two unalike things where one thing is said to be the other. It is not literal—there is no actual poison tree—but it has figurative meaning: the poison tree is figurative only, representative of the speaker's wrath. The apple that it grows is likewise metaphorical; however, the apple's effect on the speaker's foe is very much real.

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Identify a figure of speech used in the poem "A Poison Tree."

Blake's metaphor is definitely an important figure of speech in this poem. Additionally, Blake uses allusion and euphemism.

Blake alludes to the Bible's Garden of Eden when he describes the poem's tree. Just like Eve's tree in the Garden of Eden, the tree in the poem bears a fruit that is tempting and shiny, yet ultimately dangerous and the cause of the consumer's downfall. The apple in Blake's poem represents the speaker's unresolved anger, and the apple in the Garden of Eden represents knowledge and temptation. This allusion is particularly interesting because it brings up some interesting questions in the poem. Is Blake comparing Eve's innocence to the foe's innocence? Is Blake comparing unresolved anger to temptation and knowledge?  Perhaps Blake is saying that giving in to someone's unresolved anger can be just as dangerous as giving in to temptation.

Blake also uses a kind of euphemism at the very end of the poem, saying that his foe is "outstretched beneath a tree." We can surmise that this is a polite way of saying that his foe is dead, because the speaker killed him.

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Identify a figure of speech used in the poem "A Poison Tree."

There is more than one figure of speech, or type of figurative language, going on in William Blake's poem "A Poison Tree."  Because the question states "the figure of speech," I'll try to focus on the biggest, most important bit of figurative language.  

5 of the most common poetic figures of speech are metaphors, similes, personification, hyperbole, and symbolism.  

"A Poison Tree" makes the most use of metaphor.  The first stanza introduces the reader to a narrator who is angry.  But he tells his friend about that anger, and the anger was let go (Frozen's Elsa would be so proud).  The first stanza also mentions that the speaker is again angry, but this time he does not speak of it.  

The next three stanzas begin the metaphor.  His anger is compared to a plant or a garden.  It gets watered at night and in the morning.  He makes sure that it gets plenty of sun.  The narrator explains that the plant (his anger) grew "both day and night" until it produced fruit. The narrator says that it is an apple, but it's simply a metaphor for a lure.  The speaker uses that apple to lure his enemy into the garden and be poisoned.  It's not clear if the apple was poisoned or the entire garden.  Either way, the speaker's anger was nurtured to the point where he used it to kill someone.  That's one messed up gardener.  

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What is a figure of speech used in the first stanza of "A Poison Tree"?

A figure of speech is any use of language that goes beyond the literal to create an effect. It can include repetition, alliteration, word reversals, or any device that adds to the basic factual meaning of the words.

There are several figures of speech in the first stanza of Blake's poem. For instance, Blake employs anaphora, which is the use of the same word to begin different lines in a poem. In the first stanza, Blake repeats the word "I" at the start of each line:

I was angry with my friend;
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.

The poem also uses the reversal of standard word order in the last line. Instead of stating "I did not tell it," the speaker says "I told it not," which puts the emphasis on the "not," highlighting the negativity the speaker shows in withholding information from his enemy.

Although Blake uses simple language in this opening stanza, he also slides in figures of speech.

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