Comparing The Flea and Valentine

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Comparing The Flea and Valentine

"The flea" is a metaphysical poem about a man trying to argue a virgin

into bed to have sexual intercourse with him. This poem was most

likely written to amuse the readers and probably more for a larger

male audience. The poem was written in the late 17th century in a

period where sex within marriage was like a household chore, but

socially, sex before marriage was like a sin, because society was

extremely religious. John Donne is attempting to get these thoughts

out of her head and persuade her to have sex with him.

Metaphysical poets use a lot of elaborate and extended comparisons.

They wrote energetic and vigorous poems that went against the common

literature of the time.

There are three stanzas in the poem; all 9 lines each, making it a

regular stanza and rhyming form. Each stanza consists of three rhyming

couplets and one rhyming triplet.

The first stanza is strong and persuasive and is the introduction to

the poem. In this stanza he makes the girl look at the flea.

"Mark but this flea, and mark in this"

"How little that which thou deniest me is"

With the flea being the title, introducing the word flea into the

first line of the poem gets straight into the poem. There is no build

up; it is just like a conversation with Donne talking to the girl. He

also implies that such a little thing like virginity should not deny

them of making love. The girl may seem offended by this, but it does

not stop John Donne.

He tries to make the girl feel stuck together with him and that they

are as one.

"It suck'd me first, and now sucks thee"

"And in this flea our two bloods mingled be"

The two bloods mixing together like sexual intercourse. During sexual


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... times. I don't feel it was a very good way to go about telling someone

of the love that you hold for them.

The part of "The Flea" which I enjoyed the most is where he used

religious imagery to seduce the girl. If he hadn't had used that then

I don't think that his plan would've worked. Also, the quick way in

which he changed his view on the argument after the girl killed the

flea was very sharp in my opinion and sly and cunning.

I think that Carol Ann Duffy's poem was all about showing your love in

very definitive ways and not just with cards and chocolate, but with

something that actually means something. I think that it would appeal

more to the female of the species, and the flea would appeal more to

the male of the species.

Metaphysical poetry appeals to me, and so does John Donne and I would

expect that many of his poems were similar to this.
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