The Flea Poem Analysis

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The English poet and cleric John Donne (1572-1631) is considered "one of the greatest writers of the English prose" . His well-known poems, which are mostly written in the form of dramatic monologues, "has captivated and evoked emotions in readers for over three and a half centuries" . His work, which consists of a small amounts of books, covers various themes such as sex and religion, both of which are represented in "The Flea". The speaker in the poem is portrayed as a man, who desperately wants to satisfy his sexual needs. He tries to convince his lover to have premarital sex with him by using different seduction strategies. Below I shall argue that the speaker makes an attempt to seduce his lover throughout the poem with the help of a flea.…show more content…
He tells her to look at the flea and observe "how little" its size is to what she denies him of in order to point out that engaging in sex is just as insignificant and diminutive as a flea. The flea is, therefore, used by the speaker as a metaphor for the act of sex. In the third and fourth line in the first stanza, he refers to the flea, which has sucked both of their blood, to suggest that they are now joined intimately due to their blood being combined inside the flea 's body . The speaker implies that they might as well engage in sexual intercourse since there already has been an act of physical union between them. To further his argument he tries to make her admit that their mixed blood within the flea "cannot be said a sin, or shame, or loss of maidenhead" to persuade her that having sex with him is just as innocent. The speaker seems to insinuate that she should give in to his desires because the flea, who he personifies, has already been able to "enjoy" his lady 's flesh without needing to "woo" her. Therefore, he should be able to do the same. In line eight the speaker gives us a revolting image of the flea swelling from having being overfed with blood suggesting that it is pregnant from having their two bodily fluids mixed inside. He personifies the flea again by describing it as being "pampered", excessively indulging in blood to emphasize that the…show more content…
This exaggerated argument is an example of a hyperbole he uses. Due to her religious beliefs the speaker uses religious imagery such as the Holy Trinity, by telling her that the flea has "three lives in one" in order to prevent her from killing it. He then suggests that the flea is a symbol of their marriage due to their blood being "mingled" (11) to possibly make her less worried about having premarital sex. Even though the speaker is aware that both her and her parents are opposed to premarital sex (14) he still tries to seduce her by giving a religious imagery of the flea being a "temple" where the two are "cloistered" together to make her accept that they already, in a sense, are a married couple within the "living walls" of the flea. In the third stanza his lover suddenly kills the flea, which is illustrated when he describes an unpleasant image of her purpled nail being stained with the flea 's blood (20) as if she were to have squashed it towards a surface with her fingernail. The speaker admits that she has triumphed against his arguments (23). Despite this, he still manages to use the flea to make a final attempt at seduction by claiming that she will "waste" as much honor, implying very little, when she loses her virginity as she did when killing the flea
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