What is the setting of the poem the spider and the fly?

What is the setting of the poem the spider and the fly?

1 Answer

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    In the poem, “The Spider and the Fly”, written by Mary Howitt, the poet talks through metaphors (hidden meanings) about how a spider can put a fly under its spell by being polite and sweet. She personifies man as the spider and woman as the fly and talks about how innocent women are to the sweet talks of men and that they should be more cautious. In the first stanza, the spider, very politely, asks the fly whether she will walk into his parlour, which he claims to be “the prettiest little parlour” the fly ever saw. He then goes on to describe his parlour to the fly by saying it has a “winding stair” and on top has “many curious things.” The fly, being smart, did not fall into his trap and paid no heed to his invitations saying that she knew those who went with the spider, “never come down.” This goes on for a while but the fly refuses all requests of the materialistic temptations offered by the spider. the spider tries a more persistent and clever way to entrap the fly by using flattery. He exclaims with happiness how beautiful and sweet the fly is. He says that the fly’s wings are gauzy ( thin and shiny ) and how “brilliant are your eyes.” So he asks her to step inside his parlour where he has a “little lookingglass” and the fly can see herself how pretty she is. The fly, this time, did not directly decline his offer. She is very pleased with all the flattery, just like the spider had hoped. She says that though she will be flying off now, she will come visit the spider soon. Flattery is an old trick which men use on women to trap them. False flattery are used often to trick the women and the poet shows how the innocent fly is slowly falling for the false words of the spider. the cunning spider knew that the fly will soon come back as the flattery did work. He goes inside and starts creating a “subtle web, in a little corner sly.” He sets his table ready to dine upon the fly once she comes back. Then the clever spider goes out and starts singing a song full of praise. He says wonderful things about the fly all the while beckoning (calling) her. He calls out to the fly
    “with the pearl and silver wing.” He says that he finds her robes (body) to be in a beautiful colour of green and purple and also has a “crest (crown) upon your head.” He ends his flattery by comparing her diamond bright eyes to his dull eyes. On hearing the spider’S “wily (cunning), flattering words”, the fly comes buzzing towards the spider’s web. She could think of nothing apart from all the praises said by the spider about her “brilliant eyes” and “her crested head.” She did not even know that she is about to get inside a trap as her head is filled with all the false praises. As soon as she arrives at the web, the spider “fiercely held her fast” and drags her into his “dismal (unfortunate) den” and ends the fly’s life.

    Read summary of The Spider and the Fly

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