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Lewis Carroll’s poem, “The Crocodile”, appeared in his Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. In this childlike poem, the poet has tried to put forth the crocodile’s virtues as an appearance to prove the point of deception to the readers.
How doth the little crocodile Improve his shining tail And pour the water of the Nile On every golden scale! How cheerful he seems to grin, How neatly spreads his claws, And welcomes little fishes in, With gently smiling jaws!
The poet starts the poem by describing “the little crocodile.” The description paints the crocodile as a little creature. The opening few lines says very little about the crocodile and more about how the crocodile only takes care of himself. The poet says that the crocodile uses the water of the Nile to polish his shining tail.
The crocodile is personified to express his own choice of self-care. The poet then continues by saying that though the crocodile may appear docile, he is actually hunting. The crocodile knows how to trap his prey.
The crocodile puts on a cheerful disposition by appearing to grin and cheerfully spreads his claws. A contrast is created between the vicious crocodile and his cheerful disposition. The crocodile is very sly and sneaky and hence, manages to catch the fish by putting up an appearance.
Through this simple poem, Lewis Carroll puts up an inner meaning by showing that even a gentlest of the creatures are malicious underneath the friendly disposition. Outward appearances are deceptive in nature.
The crocodile appears to be sweet and gentle and does nothing but polish his scales whereas it is only a part of his strategy to trap his prey. The poet, using humor, tries to warn his readers that the world is filled with sly and sneaky people who puts up a fake appearance to trap the innocent.