John Donne's 'The Flea': Poetry Analysis

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Report Card: 1. The Flea (1633) 2. John Donne (1572-1631) 3. The flea is the main metaphor/character in the poem, symbolizing the union between the man and the woman, the other two subjects of the poem, who are inferior to the power that the flea holds upon them and their union, whether intimate or otherwise. 4. The man and the woman (i.e. the writer and the woman courted) are secondary characters in this poem and, as mentioned above, are influenced by the flea, which is the main symbol of Donne's work, a metaphor for intimacy. 5. The setting is intimate; whether it is or is not a bedroom is questionable, though the author does mention a bed. 6. The person speaking in the poem is the man, or the author, as this poem is told in first person. 7. The poem begins with the description of a flea, which bit both the narrator and the woman to whom he speaks. Because of this flea, according to the subsequent lines, the two bloods of these individuals are mixed. Despite the bite, however, the author assure that whom he courts that her innocence would not be lost (nor loss of maidenhead), and that if they were to engage in any sort of intimacy, their acts would be more innocent than the flea's bit. In the subsequent stanza, the author speaks of marriage and an eventual union (marriage bed, marriage temple), though again, in the context of encouraging intimacy rather than courting for marriage. He also tells the woman that if she will not give into his requests she
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