ISC Reverie the spider and the fly : as a didactic poem


‘The Spider and the Fly’ 

Question:  How is ‘The Spider and the Fly’ a didactic poem?
Answer:  A didactic poem is a poem which teaches or explains some thing such as a truth, a moral, a principle or a purpose.
    ‘ The Spider and the Fly’ is no doubt a didactic poem as it has a strong moral or message for the readers. Howitt has originally written this poem to educate people especially children about the realities of the naturel world. The poetess tells successfully the children, how a cunning fellow with evil intentions, uses flattery to trap an innocent fellow.

     Howitt shows four different ways, how tricky and cunning Spider, who symbolises – crooked men, follows to trap the naive fly who symbolises – innocent women.
      Initially the spider tries to appeal the Fly’s sense of curiosity, to lure her into his home. He uses very friendly words to invite her into his ‘prettiest parlour’ which is also filled with ‘many pretty things’. The fly replies that it is futile to invite her, because she knows that anybody who goes in, never comes out.

        Next time the spider appeals to the fly’s weariness. Showing his concern he offers  her, his comfortable bed with fine sheets saying “there are pretty curtains drawn around and the sheets are fine and thin”.
   The spider also offers her to securely tuck her into his bed. The fly  responds in negative as she has often heard that those who sleep on Spider’s bed” never wake again”.
     Third time the spider appeals to her hunger. Showing his courtesy he tries to tempt her with the offer of nice food from his pantry. But the fly replies that she doesn’t wish to see whatever lies in his pantry.
      Now, being rejected so many times, the spider ultimately plays his  best  trick which he had saved for the last. He targets the weakness of being taken over by flattering comments. He flatters the fly by  sweet, witty and wise. He appreciates her  beautiful wings and brilliant eyes. He offers her to look upon herself in his mirror. This time the fly is quite flattered, she not only thanks him for appreciating her but says she will call on another day.
And bidding you good-morning now, I’ll call another day.”
     At this point the spider goes inside his ‘den’ to weave a subtle web, because he realises that he has successfully flattered and deceived the fly.
     When the spider praises the fly’s beautiful wings, her diamond like eyes, she is trapped to such an extent that she herself moves towards her death, “thinking only of her brilliant eyes and green and purple hue” and her ‘‘crested head’.
     The Fly despite knowing the spider’s evil intent and cunningness, falls into his trap. The poem thus ends with an appeal never to pay heed to “idle, silly, flattering words”. Thus one should always remember this tale when encountered by an “evil counsellor”.

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