The metaphysical era in poetry started in the 17th century when a number of poets extended the content of their poems to a more elaborate one which investigated the principles of nature and thought. John Donne was part of this literary movement and he explored the themes of love, death, and religion to such an extent, that he instilled his own beliefs and theories into his poems. His earlier works, such as The Flea and The Sunne Rising, exhibit his sexist views of women as he wrote more about the physical pleasures of being in a relationship with women. However, John Donne displays maturity and adulthood in his later works, The Canonization and A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning, in which his attitude transcends to a more grown up one. The …show more content…
He uses the flea as an excuse for marriage and that they are now permitted to have sex. Out of desperation Donne shifts to a more religiously point of view by saying, “And sacrilege, three sinnes in killing three.” (Line 18) This means that if the woman kills the flea, she is killing the flea, him, herself, and God. However, the women squashes the flea along with his argument and Donne is left with one final go at convincing the woman. The final stanza of the poem expresses his sheer desperation to have sex with the woman as he deviates to using a lenient approach. He blames her not for killing the flea, but says that her act did not damage her honour in any way, and that she should still “yeeld’st to mee” (Line 26), or should still sleep with him. The content of The Flea demonstrates the exact sexist attitude that John Donne possessed when he wrote his early love poems. Likewise, the same desire for physical pleasure can be seen in the poem The Sunne Rising. This poem encompasses Donne’s ignorance of his surroundings and his obsession for sexual pleasure. Throughout the poem he attacks and challenges the sun with contempt, and does so by personifying it. He is obviously disturbed and troubled by the “unruly Sunne” (Line 1) and tells
On the surface, John Donne’s poem “The Flea” dramatizes the conflict between two people on the issue of premarital sex, however, under the surface, the poem uses religious imagery to seduce the woman into having sex. The speaker in this poem is a man, who is strategically trying to convince a woman to have premarital sex with him through the conceit based on a flea, however, the coy lady has thus far yielded to his lustful desires. The speaker’s argument has the form of logic, which contradicts to its outrageous content.
As the girl threatens to kill the flea, the speaker begs her to stop. He states that all three of their lives are in this flea, and that through the blood of the flea he and her are already married. If the girl were to kill the flea, he feels that it would be the equivalent of murdering all three of them. The speaker is desperately trying to manipulate the girls actions too his advantage. Donne uses more metaphors too twist his words into a more convincing argument.
As in the other stanzas, this arranges its four supporting arguments into three couplets and a triplet by rhyme. However, whereas the first stanza loosely held the ideas to couplets, the second shows more organization in thought. This further structure is necessary to support the conceit of the flea as a holy church. The support for this idea is arranged into the following four sub-argument: one, do not kill the flea, because we have conceived within it; two, thus, the flea is like a “marriage bed,” and by extension, a “marriage temple”; three, despite your parents’ and your concerns, that’s the way it is; and four, if you kill the flea, you commit three sins – killing me, killing yourself, and sacrilege by violating the sanctity of the marriage temple. Note that Donne does present an argument to seduce his beloved in this stanza. His words are filled solely with reverence and concern for the flea. Through this, we can see the earnestness and seriousness of the passion he has for his beloved: the sanctity of their relationship – even their surrogate relationship within the flea – is sacred to him.
The metaphor is further enforced in lines 8 and 9 when Donne illustrates the image of the swollen flea "pampered swells with one blood made of two" (line 8) introducing the image of a baby, and the idea of pregnancy. With the possible allusion of a pregnancy Donne is emphasizing that he is attempting to sleep with the woman. Thus, Donne continues to use the image of a flea to unconventionally simplify lovemaking. The absurdity of the poem is portrayed through the use of a flea to convince a woman into bed, when a flea would typically connote repulsiveness, dependency, and something ugly and simple, which mooches off of others. In the second stanza of the poem, the speaker continues to emphasize his conceit, although it has become clear that the woman wants to remove the flea from her body, and consequentially the relationship with the speaker. "Oh stay, three lives in one flea spare" (line 10), the speaker is now relying on guilt, persuading the woman to spare not only the life of the flea, however he goes as far as mentioning the lives of himself and the woman. Drawing a comparison once again to the act of love, the speaker mentions marriage, portraying that the flea has joined them eternally much like a marriage would. Marriage is a significant motif in the second stanza, which also relates to
The poem, The Flea, by John Donne is a depiction of desire and the process of a sexual intercourse with uses of unexpected similes that shows the simplicity of a sexual relation. Through the use of conceit of the flea, metaphor and figurative language The Flea suggests that one’s desire and love may not be mutual between two people.
In the final stanza the woman kills the flea. Unsurprisingly, the very dramatic Donne labels the death as “cruel and sudden” (3.1). He goes on to say that she has “purpled thy nail, in blood of innocence” (3.2). What he means by this is that the flea has done nothing more than suck her blood, yet she has ended its life. Since the mingling of blood is representative of sex, it implies that the act of sex is
The flea enjoys the blood and so does the man enjoy foreplay. The pamper'd swells could be that of sexual organs before sex and yet, because that is not happening, the flea is having a better time at the moment than he is, by sucking their blood. I think that by using this comparison, John Donne is being very intellectual and at this point I feel he may win his argument. The second stanza, John Donne becomes weaker as the girl starts to defend herself and he tries to convey his love for her.
He goes on to suggest that, when she has killed the flea that holds blood, which in this case is considered as ?life?, from both him and her, that the blood lost had not weakened them (?Find?st not thyself, nor me the weaker now?) and she had not lost any honour. Therefore, with these points considered, the blood she would lose to him would not make her weaker and she would not lose any honour, ?Just so much honour, when thou yield?st to me/ Will waste, as this flea?s death took life from thee?. To some extent, both poets express a way in which they will consummate or have consummated their mistress. Marvell suggests that they should ?roll all their strength and all/ Their sweetness into one ball? and ?tear? their pleasures ?with rough strife/ Through the iron gates of life.? Whereas Marvell explains the consummation as aggressive, sensual and romantic, Donne uses the flea, a very insignificant, unromantic creature, to imply sexual intercourse, ?and in this flee, our two bloods mingled be.?
In the second stanza, Donne goes on to make the point that the flea is
Donne transformed the love poetry he wrote in his early days, beginning in 1617 with the death of his wife Anne More, to religious poetry with a strong sense of awareness of death and its import. This poetic development from classical poetry to more personal poetry reflects the events that marked his own life, and can be traced throughout his poetry. This kind of personal and thereby
The narrator in The Flea is an energetic man attempting to persuade a young lady to give her virginity to him. He tries to do this by contrasting their association with a flea that is in the room. The flea nibbles them both and Donne discloses to her this is typical of both of their universes joining into one. He says that the flea is presently the domain of adoration, desire, and marriage. At first, this poem is by all accounts pretty much love, responsibility from a male to a female, who says no his scurrilous cravings. Notwithstanding, a more profound look than merely the shallow uncovers that the man in this ballad is uncovering a legitimate point to his woman: that the loss of innocence, for example, her virginity, does not constitute lost her honor.
This week’s lecture is about John Donne. This essay is going to cover the differences between Donne and Jonson, metaphysical poetry, Donne’s life, his work, techniques, religious poems & sermons, and the final poems. John Donne was very close with Ben Johnson and sometimes they were compared. However, they are extremely different people. These two men had different temperaments, personalities, and world outlook, etc.. During his time, Johnson was the more popular and influential between the two men. His was able to continue this popularity to other generations. Donne was only able to expand throughout a private group but he was well-known during his time and he was even admired by people. However, he was never able to compete against Johnson. He reputation even faded over several years but his work was able to make a comeback.
Metaphysical poets use startling juxtapositions in their poetry to create a greater significance in their arguments and intended meanings throughout the poem. John Donne is said to be the unsurpassed metaphysical poet, metaphysical poetry being poetry relating to a group of 17-century English poets whose verse is typified by an intellectually arduous style, admitting extended metaphors and comparing very disparate things. In 17th century England new discoveries were being made and social customs such as men being the dominant over women still applied. Through Donne’s poetry we can see that he is goaded and confused by the new discoveries and the social customs avert him from reaching his desires. This is incalculably recognized in his
The central theme, introduced quite early within the poem, is the helplessness of death. Throughout the poem the speaker belittles death and approaches it with such bravery and poise. Donne confronts death by saying it is not in any regard “mighty and dreadful” (2), but rather brings “much pleasure” (7). Death is personified in the poem, and in this regard, possess no greater power over man. The speaker of the poem is Donne himself. He uses his literary tools of rhetoric and poetic devices to belittle death. Throughout the poem, the speaker comes across as being slightly arrogant, but he refuses to show weakness. His arrogance shows that he is not afraid of death as he demands death not to be proud. Donne takes the association of death and sleep, and reinvents this comparison to a greater effect. He describes sleep as being “pictures” (5) of death and death is no more different or more frightening. He extends this metaphor throughout the poem. In the second last line of the poem he