The Sick Rose is a deceivingly simple poem. In reality it is quite complex
Blake wrote this poem using the language of sense impressions and refers to animals and flowers found in every-day life. It is likely he used this technique because when the poem was written in the 18th century most people found poetry difficult to understand. Even if The Sick Rose is short and written in simple language, it is complex because of its symbolism and hidden meanings. Moreover, this poem has a multi-level context.
The first interpretation of this poem can be simply that of a story, a every-day encounter in nature between a worm and a rose, a rose that is getting ill. This is, however, clearly the most simplistic and, in my opinion, the least interesting interpretation as it leaves no space for interpretation at all.
In its most remarkable context, the poem can be interpreted through a focus on the worm, describing it as though it were an invisible human being.
This worm can be seen as a man who wants to meet girl who is willing to give in to all his desires. Blake uses the shape of the worm to underline the clammy appearance of this maggot therefore symbolizing the clammy nature of this man in his attitude towards the rose, symbolizing the woman. This worm eventually leads to the sickness of the rose and finally to its death in much the same way a man would lead to the death of his relationship with a woman if his behaviour were as suffocating and obsessive as the worm’s was in the poem.
The poem can then be seen through the “eyes” of the rose, the woman. This flower normally symbolizes a healthy, beautiful person but in this case it represents a shy, obliging girl, who is scared of saying “No”, even to shameless requests.
All things considered, Blake may have written this poem to advise readers, especially girls, to refrain from accepting invitations from unknown people and in order to avoid all the dangerous consequences this can bring. Like in most of the poems he wrote, he describes the society of his time and the problems in that period.
As result, this poem can have two main themes: if it is read nowadays, it helps to understand how the society of the time was, if it was read in the past it can be seen as a warning. In conclusion, I consider this poem a mysterious one. It is mysterious, because every time I read it I discover new aspects of myself and every element Blake used.
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