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Love in Valentine and The Flea

Powerful Essays
Love in Valentine and The Flea

Through a close analysis of language, structure and theme, compare and

contrast the poets' attitude to love in Valentine and The Flea.

The poem "The Flea" is about a man trying to cunningly argue a woman

into bed. John Donne's "The Flea" was a metaphysical poem, written

most probably, to entertain an audience of men; this was called a

coterie, which was a group of like-minded individuals who cleverly

wrote for each other's amusement. This poem was written sometime in

the 17th century where religion was extremely important and sex before

marriage frowned upon. The poet is exploring ideas and feelings about

lust and how unimportant losing virginity is, which a woman will

obviously object to.

The poem is written in three stanzas, which show the progression of

his argument. The regular rhythm and rhyme implies the confidence he

has that he will get the woman into bed for his pleasure and the

strength in his argument. In each stanza there are three rhyming

couplets and a rhyming triplet. This might represent how the flea, the

unseen woman and himself are united as one inside the body of the

flea. Although, there are a few exceptions, the few half rhymes in

each stanza may show his conscience of being gentle and not pushing

her too much.

The poem has nine lines in each stanza; nine is a multiple of three,

which is the number that this poem seems to circle around. This,

again, suggests the unity of the two people's blood in the flea. It

could also suggest the woman, himself and a baby. This could be

implied through the phrase "pamper'd swells". This could be the woman

becoming pregnant from making love. This might be a more sensitive

side to the poem.

The title "The Fle...

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... and made me

wonder why she had chosen an onion to represent her affection felt for

her partner. I think the poet felt strongly about how people should

express their feelings to those you care about instead of following

the crowd and sending pointless cards. I would like to read more of

her poems.

John Donne's poem "The Flea" makes me feel quite angry because he has

portrayed how some men think that women are objects; only for their

own pleasure and that virginity is insignificant and unimportant. But

it did also make me laugh because of how melodramatic he was and how

desperate he was to persuade her that he used a flea as an example. I

think it was a very clever poem and would have certainly entertained

the audience it was aimed at. He was a very intelligent man and I

would expect that many of his other poems would be just as witty and

interesting.
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