Essay Explication of John Donne's The Flea

1066 Words5 Pages
On the surface, John Donne’s poem “The Flea” dramatizes the conflict between two people on the issue of premarital sex, however, under the surface, the poem uses religious imagery to seduce the woman into having sex. The speaker in this poem is a man, who is strategically trying to convince a woman to have premarital sex with him through the conceit based on a flea, however, the coy lady has thus far yielded to his lustful desires. The speaker’s argument has the form of logic, which contradicts to its outrageous content. In the first stanza, the speaker wants his beloved lady to observe a flea and not think of anything else as he delivers his argument. A flea bites the speaker and his beloved causing their blood to mix,…show more content…
He justifies saving the flea’s life in line 11 by saying that now they are “more than married” through the flea. The speaker says that they are the flea, and the flea is their marriage bed and temple, therefore justifying premarital sex between the two. Now, making his plea, the speaker goes further by saying in line14 that “we are met,” meaning that they have already been sexually acquainted because of the mixing of blood between the two lovers inside of the flea’s body. The speaker then explains that if she were to kill the flea, she would be committing three sins against God in killing herself, him, and the flea. In the blank space before the third stanza we infer that the woman has killed the flea. He is upset at the woman because she killed the flea and wants to know how this flea was guilty. The tone of the poem changes in this stanza because now, he is chastising her for her sins. He is even cool and harsh when he says, “Just so much honor, when thou yield’st to me, /Will waste, as this flea’s death took life from thee” (26-27) He then concludes by explaining that having sex with him would be just as trivial as killing the flea. This poem is not strictly about a man who is trying to get a woman to have premarital sex with him. I think this work was more about the use of religious imagery in regards to a sexual act. Starting in the second stanza, we see our first religious imagery and diction. The first line,

    More about Essay Explication of John Donne's The Flea

      Open Document