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The Flea

  • Date Submitted: 01/27/2010 11:20 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 70.7 
  • Words: 775
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Donne's poem “The Flea” appears to be a love poem, a dedication from a male suitor to his lady of honor, who repudiates to yield to his lustful desires.   In this poem, the speaker tries to seduce a young woman by comparing the consequences of their lovemaking with those of an insignificant fleabite.   He uses the flea as an argument to exemplify that the physical relationship he desires is not in itself a momentous event, because a similar unification has already taken place within the flea.

In the stanza 1, the speaker creates likeness between the fleabite and lovemaking.   I interpreted the first two lines, “Mark but this flea, and mark in this, How little that, which thou deny’st me, is;” to mean that the woman doesn’t reject the flea entrée to her body, yet she denies the advancements of the speaker.   Then the speaker shows the similarities between their lovemaking and the mingling of their blood within the flea.   “It sucked me first, and now sucks thee, And in this flea our two bloods mingled be.”   This argument shows the woman that the same physical exchange, which takes place between her and a flea, is the same type of union that he has in mind.   In lines 5-6 of stanza 1 the speaker persuades the woman that their act could not be considered a sin because a fleabite isn’t considered one.   This act could not be considered a loss of innocence because it is so common that if it were to be true, nearly everyone would have lost his or her innocence.   Therefore this lady should not be troubled about giving herself to him before they marry, because their only act is the mixing of their blood.   The poet introduces the idea of the baby in the final lines of stanza 1.   “And pampered swells with one blood made of two, And this, alas! Is more than we would do.”   This line describes the physical changes that happen to a flea’s body after it fills with blood.   The flea is now considering the baby produced by their bloods.

In the second stanza the speaker...


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