ISC Reverie ‘The Spider and the Fly ‘ : as a cautionary tale against flattery and evil intentions


‘The Spider and the Fly’

Question:  ‘The Spider and the Fly’ is a “cautionary tale against those who use flattery and charm to disguise their  evil intentions “.Discuss.

Answer: The Spider and the Fly is a story in the form of poem where the poet tells us about a cunning Spider who successfully traps a foolish fly using flattery as his weapon. In the last stanza of the poem she directly communicates to the readers, especially the little children, and warns them against the evil counsellor who use flattery to disguise their evil intentions.
          In this tale, the spider tries to lure the Fly to it’s “prettiest parlour” which is no doubt it’s web. He invites the Fly to walk along its winding staircase to reach his parlour that has many things that the latter could enjoy looking at. The Fly knows how fatal the attraction could be so it sidesteps the invite.
        Now, the spider, by showing his concern towards the Fly, says that she must be very tired for flying so high, so she may take some rest upon his comfortable bed with fine sheets and pretty curtains drawn around. The Fly again rejects his offer saying she often heard that those who sleep on Spider’s bed “never wake again”.

      This time the spider expresses his “warm affection” for the Fly addressing her as ‘Dear friend’ and offers her nice food from his pantry. But the  Fly replies that she doesn’t wish to see whatever lies in his pantry.

      But the spider saves his best bait for the last. He heaps flattery on the Fly calling her ‘sweet creature’ witty and wise. He also praises her ‘gauzy wings’ and ‘brilliant eyes’. He offers her to look upon herself in his mirror. This time the Fly is flattered; she not only thanks him for appreciating her but says she will call on him another day.

“I thank you,gentle sir,”
she said,”for what you’re pleased to

 And bidding you good-morning now, I’ll call another day”.
       This is what the spider was waiting for. He is now convinced that the stupid fly would surely come. He returns to his ‘den ‘ where he weaves a subtle web. The ‘dining table ‘ is ready. There he waits silently for the prey to fly in. He comes out  once again and starts singing in praise of the Fly, mentioning her ‘pearl and silver wings’ ‘green and purple hue’ and her ‘crested head’. He also compares her diamond like bright eyes with his own ‘dull as lead’  eyes.
       The Fly despite knowing the spider’s evil intent and cunningness falls into his trap. The Fly  was lost in the thoughts of seeing her own beautiful wings and eyes, the colourful hue and the ‘crested head’. The spider now jumps upon her and fiercely drags her to his ‘den. Thus comes the end of the foolish Fly.
         Though the tale ends here but the poetess still continue to add another stanza to give direct message to her target audience. Thus ‘The Spider and the Fly’ is a cautionary tale in which the poetess warns the readers to be alert against the power of flattery and never to pay heed to “idle, silly and flattering words”.
        she uses this poem as a cautionary tale against those evil minded people who uses flattery and charm to disguise their actual evil intentions.

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