John Donne's The Flea

Decent Essays

Poems are often used to express one’s feelings or ideologies about life, emotion, or nature. In the case of John Donne’s “The Flea”, he is expressing himself in a more unorthodox method by using an extended metaphor. John Donne’s “The Flea” is about a man trying to court a woman by comparing the acceptance of their consummation to blood in a flea while holding religious undertones.
The narrator starts by saying, “It sucked me first now it sucks thee, / And in this flea our two bloods mingled be;” (3-4). These lines argue his idea that the mixture of both he and the lady’s blood being inside the flea means it is ok for them to consummate. He then questions why not since it sucked the blood him and her.
He continues by imploring her that “Thou know’st that this cannot be said/ A sin, nor shame, nor loss of maidenhead, …show more content…

Since she has killed it, he claims that neither one of them are dying because of the bite in the line, “Find’st not thy self, nor me the weaker now;” (22).
His final response is “Just so much honor, when thou yield’st to me, / Will waste, as this flea’s death took life from thee.” (26-27). He basically says that she has lost just as much respect and honor by killing the flea than if she slept with him. The tone of the male speaker seems to come off like a child pouting and having an attitude by not getting a toy he wanted. Although this poem portrays John Donne as a playboy and a flirt, later in life he turned very religious about love and God. Donne’s writing in this poem holds a hidden religious undertone because Donne believed the human body was a needed vessel to experience true emotional love on a spiritual level (Fuller 13). Another example of religion in “The Flea” is that the death of the flea is like the crucifixion of Jesus Christ because both are innocent when killed and no honor is lost (Fuller

Get Access