Essay about Love in Valentine and The Flea

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Love in Valentine and The Flea

Through a close analysis of language, structure and theme, compare and contrast the poets' attitude to love in Valentine and The Flea.

The poem "The Flea" is about a man trying to cunningly argue a woman into bed. John Donne's "The Flea" was a metaphysical poem, written most probably, to entertain an audience of men; this was called a coterie, which was a group of like-minded individuals who cleverly wrote for each other's amusement. This poem was written sometime in the 17th century where religion was extremely important and sex before marriage frowned upon. The poet is exploring ideas and feelings about lust and how unimportant losing virginity is, which a woman will obviously object to.
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He is persistent in his argument and irritating, this portrays himself as a replicate of a flea, just trying to get what he wants.

In the first stanza John Donne is narrating to the reader. The flea has sucked his blood and hers and he is now using this flea as an example for his argument by saying:

"Mark but this flea, and mark in this,

How little that which thou deniest me is;"

He is also implying that virginity is small and insignificant. This will obviously offend the girl because virginity is a very important gift that a woman has to bestow on a man. But the poet does not seem to give up on this point.

The poet uses cunning phrases such as:

"Thou know'st that this cannot be said

A sin, nor shame, nor loss of maidenhead;"

Which make me feel that he is lulling her into a sense of false security. This is a great technique to win his argument.

At the end of stanza one, the poet becomes quite melodramatic:

"Yet this enjoys before it woo,

And pamper'd swells in one blood made of two;

And this, alas! is more than we would do."

Donne could be implying that the flea easily has enjoyment from sucking her blood and that he himself has no pleasure from her. This might show he has an egotistical attitude towards women.

Donne's use of physical language such as "suck'd", "blood" and
"swells" implies his lustful desires and show the sensual undercurrents of the poem.

At the start of the

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