The Flea By John Donne Essay

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With the initial impression of “The Flea,” one does not expect an erotic love story. The title suggests a tiny insect may be the main focus of the poem, but this assumption proves to be incorrect. Using intense metaphors, imagery, symbolism, and alliteration to perform his argument, the speaker is attempting to woo a lady in a rather repulsive romantic comedy approach. Throughout the couplets, the flea is personified and becomes symbolic of a much greater meaning. Although John Donne’s “The Flea” obviously discusses sex as the primary topic, the poem contains underlying features regarding the themes of marriage and even religion. Basically, the poem in its entirety consists of vague, flattery language to reference sex without ever speaking directly of it. Each new rhyme scheme result in the introduction of a new idea. Within the first four lines, the speaker sets up the idea of bloodlines mixing, both literally and figuratively. The mingling of the two characters’ blood inside the flea symbolizes the act of marriage and the woman’s potential loss of “maidenhood.” In detail, the speaker states, “And pampered swells with one blood made of two” (line 8). With this literary imagery in mind, the flea is rapidly expanding as the parasite sucks the blood of its host. The speaker seems to personify the flea as if the parasite is another competitor for her love and affection. Furthermore, the second stanza focuses on the idea of marriage, which is used both

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