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09/08/2019

Themes from “Upon a Spider Catching a Fly”?

QUESTION
Themes from “Upon a Spider Catching a Fly”?
What are some major themes presented in the poem, “Upon a Spider Catching a Fly”?

ANSWER
Upon a Spider Catching a Fly”, by Edward Taylor, questions the beliefs of the Puritans In the 17th century. In the Puritan religion, the supernatural world is a mirror image of the world in which we live. By using analogies of nature and the nature of God, Edward Taylor attacks the Puritan beliefs. Because Taylor could be killed for his poem, he requests that his works are not published. After he died, though, his poems were published.
In this poem, Edward Taylor is questioning the Puritan beliefs and the question of nature. The spider symbolizes the Puritans and all of their beliefs. The believers in the Puritan doctrine are mirrored in the supernatural world by the flies. The flies are the people chosen by God, or the elect. The wasps represent a human that is not chosen by God, or the non-elects. The wasps defense against the fly mirrors a person in the natural word who questions the Puritan beliefs.
The first five lines of the poem are summarizing the quesiton of nature. Edward Taylor is questiong why nature works the way it does. He wonders why the spider must catch the fly and also why the spider feels no remorse. When Edward Taylor says “Is this thy play,” (2), he is asking if this is the process of nature and the path that God has chosen for these flies. In the next five lines, a wasp is caught in the spiders web. The spider does not try to catch the wasp, because the wasp is protected by his stinger.

In the next five lines, a wasp is caught in the spiders web. The spider does not try to catch the wasp, because the wasp is protected by his stinger. The wasp symbolizes a human that is not chosen by God. The wasps defense against the fly mirrors a person in the natural word who questions the Puritan beliefs.

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