HUM 3310 Interpretation of Fiction
Professor Kevin Miller
Module 2: Poetry Explication
Indiana Tech University
May 17, 2012
Persuasion for Copulation by Way of Flea Bite : One Man’s Inventive Justification for Sex A common belief held during the sixteenth century was that during sex the two lover’s blood combined (source?). John Donne’s The Flea, is the story of a man’s use of a flea bite to convince a woman to have sex with him. Their blood is mingled by a flea bite from each, so they might as well complete the physical aspect of copulation. This paper describes how a flea bite is used by the main character to attempt to seduce a woman to have sex with him.
The poem’s theme is one of seduction, focusing on one man’s inventive and persistent attempts to seduce a woman with his version of medical-religious-logic. “And in this flea our two bloods mingled be” (712). Here Donne’s male character states that since the flea has taken blood from both and mingled them together in the flea’s body that this is evidence they have had sex, at least in the medical sense. The common thought during the sixteenth century was that men and women’s blood mingled together during intercourse. According to the male character, they may as well complete the task in the physical sense. Donne’s The Flea adheres to the carpe diem genre of urging of the main character (Jerome, 712). The main character urges the woman to give in to his logic. To give into his advances and to accept that the marriage has already been consummated by the flea. “This flea is you and I, and this our marriage bed, and marriage temple is” (Donne, 713). When the woman tries to deflect his reasoning and crushes the flea he uses this act to urge her further to consummate the union and to honor the flea’s death so that it would not be in vain. Add here deeper interpretation of this in terms of the thesis. This paragraph is on the short side and begs for more development. Remember,...