In the narrative poem “Curiosity” by Alastair Reid, it seems as if he is giving advice on life to the reader. Reid uses figurative language here devised from the saying “curiosity killed the cat.” He speaks as if there are two kinds of characters in life, opposites naturally, like cats and dogs. The cats live care-free lives and are adventurous spirits, being irresponsible, marrying too many wives, and desert their children (Reid 749). The cat is a symbol for people who want to have fun, get more out of life, and take risks, despite knowing the consequences of chaos, death, and so on.
Meanwhile, the dogs worry about consequences, are not risk-takers, and have their lives well-kept in doggy circles where well-smelt baskets, suitable wives and good lunches are the order of things (Reid 749). The dog is also a symbol for people, who worry too much, do not take any chances, and who just play it safe. They are worried about death and other possible negative outcomes of a situation and go on watching and criticizing others, like the cat, on their “dangerous” lifestyle.
Throughout the whole poem are bits of advice being given to the reader about curiosity in life. “Curiosity will not cause us to die- only lack of it will”, and “Only the curious have, if they live, a tale worth telling at all” sways to the idea that taking chances is worth it in life. Basically, this poem is allegorical in the way that initially Reid narrates the poem about cats and dogs and their habits. However, the hidden meaning is simply understood that curiosity does not kill the cat, but that lack of it results in not getting the full potential out of life.