D.H. Lawrence's "Snake": An Analysis
D.H. Lawrence, in his poem, "Snake," uses symbolism to create an extended metaphor to express the incorrupt man. To do this, he uses nature as his subject and his relation to it. His use of the snake marks a symbolic meaning that could not be proven by any other measure.
The snake is his most obvious symbol; it reflects on the dangerous passions that man engulfs himself in that grow unacceptably by societ. The snake tempts one to rebel from his abandonment of "inclinations". It is hidden, and upon being exposed, may either be observed in awe, or brutally murdered. The speaker of the poem is aware of the snake, and doesn't wish to harm it--or even disregard it, but rather take in the beauty of it all.
The second symbol, the conflicting symbol, is the log which the speaker throws at the water trough. This was a representation of his logic and its shortcomings in his attempt to preserve the scene of the snake, which to him, was only evanescent. He threw it with some knowledge of the disturbance it would cause, but being incapable of exercising the freedom of his propensity, his attempts fail.
He also repeats to himself his need to kill the snake, possibly in defiance of unwritten law, and his intimidation. As he finally says, "If you were not afraid, you would kill him," (line 36) he notes on his weakness and the regret he feels for respecting danger. And though he feels he has overcome his loss by his actions, his recollection of the event and his repetition of his ideas to kill him prove that he has not gotten over this.
He emphasizes the almost surreptitious lifestyle, hidden in the darkness of life, wallowing in the emptiness of life. One of Lawrence's most dramatic lines was, "For he seemed to me like a king. Like a king in exile, uncrowned in the underworld." (lines 69 and 70), which express that the speaker knew the true nature of the snake, but feigned ignorance throughout the whole poem.
Lawrence changes his imagery throughout the entire poem to put a new perspective on each stanza. Doing so, he has clearly made use of symbolism and repetition.