The Use Of Marriage In John Donne's The Flea

Decent Essays

“The Flea”, by John Donne, is a poem about a man trying to persuade a woman to have premarital intercourse with him. One literary device that is prevalent among almost all pieces of poetry is the use of symbols. The flea symbolizes not only intercourse throughout this poem, but also the idea of marriage. Through analysis it can be thought that the flea could represent marriage because it bit both the man and woman the two have become one already, “Where we almost, nay more than married are /This flea is you and I, and this /Our marriage bed, and marriage temple is” (Lines 11-13). It is also possible that Donne is arguing that because God created all things he must have created the flea; therefore, the flea is essentially doing what God intended and fornication is God’s will. If this is what is believed then the two of them should not feel any remorse or shame and the woman would not lose her maidenhood if they engage in sex. “The Flea” encompases ideas that deal with desires that come from within and what drives those desires between man and woman.
Throughout the poem, Donne emphasizes a man’s desire and how he is going to go about achieving that strong internal desire, but fails to touch on the other half: what exactly the woman wants. During the poem we realize that the woman does not actually want to have intercourse with the man. This can be seen when she tries to kill the flea for the first time but is stopped by the man. “Though use make you apt to kill me, /Let not

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