A literary analysis of the flea by john donne

Though he warns not to kill the flea, she kills and exercises her power of action. Therefore, he addresses his beloved and suggests that she should not hesitate to be intimate with him. This logical set up underpins the whole argument, whilst the relatively complex syntax especially in the third stanza means there are challenges for the reader when it comes to timing and meaning.

A literary analysis of the flea by john donne

As the woman goes to kill the flea, the poet protests: Oh stay, three lives in one flea spare, Where we almost, nay more than married are. In Donne's day fleas were everywhere and must have driven people crazy - from the poor peasant to the noble lady - anyone's skin was an open invitation to the blood sucking flea. Throughout the poem, he develops a logical argument to persuade her. It focuses on an insect that was a common nuisance in the Elizabethan period - the flea - and turns it into a sexual metaphor. Line 16 It's the custom to kill me, Line 17 But don't kill yourselves too, Line 18 Or violate a holy place temple , three deaths is three times a sin. He tries hard to convince her, but she does not leave her stand and argues back to him. This poem is all about a woman's denial and the argument used by the speaker to overcome that and persuade her to make love to him. Nonetheless, both poets attempt to persuade their …show more content… Donne cleverly asserts that no "sin, nor shame" was lost and her virginity and purity is still intact, "nor loss of maidenhead. Though use make you apt to kill me, Let not to that, self-murder added be, And sacrilege, three sins in killing three. Though he warns not to kill the flea, she kills and exercises her power of action. He failed in this action because the woman killed the flea and left the man to be alone in the end, not giving him what he wanted. He thinks that since they are like a married couple they should sleep together. So, the greater mingling of their body sexual intercourse is also as holy as the flea. If she murders it, she will be guilty of three murders. The male speaker spots the blood filled flea, she kills it; end of pursuit?

That such an irritating creature could be used to such good effect is a poetic triumph but it's still not certain that, for all of Donne's wit and 'ribald humour', the speaker succeeded in his sexual conquest.

Throughout the poem, he develops a logical argument to persuade her. The man admits she could be right Marriage is also one of the seven Catholic sacraments so to kill the flea would be an act of sacrilege, violation.

John donne structure

The analysis of some of the literary devices used in this poem has been listed below. The title, the flea is a conceit, an extended metaphor in this poem. Tiny act, huge consequences. The Flea has a rhyme scheme of: aabbccddd Each stanza is made up of three couplets of rhyming pairs plus a rhyming triplet, making a total of 9 lines per stanza and 27 in total. By killing the parasite the woman has effectively ended the argument, the man almost says as much After killing the flea the lady replies that by killing the flea no one of them have become weaker and nothing has been lost. Yet, in the final three lines there seems to be a twist. In Elizabethan England it was very much the thing for poets to use a conceit, an argument, an extended metaphor which would allow a comparison to be made between diverse and often strange things. He thinks that since they are like a married couple they should sleep together. Here sit a man and a woman, possibly on a bed, the man pointing out the presence of a flea, quite common in Renaissance times, the middle of the 16th century. Whereas, if she kills the flea then the union of their lives--their relationship--will die as well. Related Topics. Stanza: A stanza is a poetic form of some lines.

So, the greater mingling of their body sexual intercourse is also as holy as the flea. The flea has sucked little blood from the speaker and the lady and the mingling of their blood in the body of the flea is regarded as their unification and marriage by the speaker.

Why not enjoy a physical i. When the woman does kill the flea, with her nail, he appears to admit that she's won the game.

the flea john donne pdf

Cruel and sudden, hast thou since Purpled thy nail, in blood of innocence? John Donne wrote this poem when a young man, training to be a lawyer, so many scholars think it was written to impress his male friends.

the flea john donne analysis line by line

The speaker is using these elevated terms in an ironic manner to try and convince the woman not to kill the flea and forego sex with him.

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A Short Analysis of John Donne’s ‘The Flea’