The Flea By John Donne

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“The Flea” Essay
“The Flea” by John Donne when looked at briefly is simply a poem about a man trying to seduce a woman into participating in pre-material sexual relationship with him. However, “The Flea” constructs many more important arguments than simply that one. The poem touches on religion, love, and sex in a non-romanticized way, contrasting the normal glamorized stance seen in most of poetry. Most of John Donne’s poems have either romantic themes or religious themes; “The Flea” has both. It is important to recognize that Donne was a 17th century preacher who converted from Catholicism to Protestantism (“John Donne.” Poetry Foundation). The struggle between lust and dedication to Christianity is not unfamiliar to Donne and is most
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He makes the point that the flea has sucked both of their blood and therefore, inside the flea, their blood is mixed together. He states that it was a simple and natural happening and that there was no “sin, or shame, or loss of maidenhead” (Donne) associated with the incident. The woman attempts to squish the flea and the speaker attempts to stop her as now the flea is more than a simple flea since it contains part of both of them. Alas, the woman kills the flea but the speaker is quick to change his agenda stating that no more honor would be lost in sleeping with him than it was in killing the flea. It takes the stance that lust precedes reputation.
The first line of the poem states “mark but this flea”(Donne) although it is before the reader learns that the flea will become a metaphor for sexual relations, looking back on the choice of belittling words, it seems to imply that sex is not a serious matter. The second line conforms this idea as the speaker pushes the idea that she is denying him of such an insignificant activity. Of course the woman denying him has a similar idea to most of 17th century women. It is forward thinking of Donne to speak of sexual relations in such a casual demeanor. The speaker complains that the fly gets to enjoy the taste of this woman without any wooing while he cannot. The climax of the poem occurs at lines 10-11 when Donne writes “O stay, three lives in one flea spare,
Where we almost,

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