Snake is a poem written in 1923 by D.H. Lawrence about a man’s considerations during an encounter with a snake. The first and logical reaction the man has is a combination of fear and interest. The poem focuses on education vs. free will and right vs. wrong as the man during the poem tries to think of a reaction to this encounter.
The narrator has been taught to kill the snake immediately because the snake is dangerous: “…black snakes are innocent, the gold are venomous”. This reaction would also be the bad reaction.
“If you were not afraid, you would kill him!”- this is what the man is thinking, probably due to his social standards. This, however, is not how he reacts. The man has a certain attraction to the snake because he “liked” the snake. “I must confess how I liked him, how glad I was; he had come like a guest in quiet, to drink at my water-trough.” This emphasizes another conflict between right vs. wrong choices. Serpents or snakes always symbolize Satan, evil, bad choices, desire and corruption. This could mean that not only the narrator but people in general may somehow be attracted to evil and bad choices, just like we see it in The Fall. Letting the snake live would in this case be the right choice due to the fact that the narrators own desire is to let him live, and killing would morally be the wrong choice. In line with this we also see that the narrator regrets immediately he thrown something at the snake.