Feb. 5th , 2013
Exaggerating Sex, Love and all the Above
John Donne’s “The Flea”, is a poem about a man sharing his desire for his lover using a flea instead of using some sort of a beautiful majestic animal. This poem is an example of an anti- Petrarchan poem. The author uses devices such as metaphysical analogies, conceit and sexual imagery to portray the speakers’ lust towards his lover. In a Petrarchan poem the authors usually speaks of love. The logic in which the speaker uses to persuade his lover into having sex with him is also known as metaphysical conceit. The poem in it entirety is metaphysical, because he uses a flea as a metaphor for sexual intercourse. He starts by saying their blood (body fluids) are already mixed within the flea “And in this flea our two bloods mingled be.” He uses the concept that their fluid are already mixed, so there is no harm in them mix during intercourse. The second attempt to use logic to win her “love” would be after she kills the flea. The speaker sees her nail stained with the flea’s blood and asks her what sin could the flea have committed other than sucking the blood from both of them and thus mixing it. This is again a metaphor for unmarried sexual union. When the speaker sees that no one is affected by the death, he also then, switches his argument. He says there is no harm in losing her virginity. In the poem, the speaker is trying very hard to convince his lover to sleep with him. Donne’s use of conceit portrays the severity of his desires. The over exaggerative metaphors he makes between the flea and making love are insane yet creative. The speaker tells his lover “Mark but this flea, and mark this, how little that which thou deny’st me is.” Basically he is saying “by ignoring the flea, you are denying me and my love.” The speaker also tells his lover if she kills the flea she will be killing three lives, him, her and the flea “Let not to that, self-murder added be, And...
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