Metaphor Use In John Donne's The Flea

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Ashleigh Schaefer Professor Dimakos English 449 5 May 2014 TITLE: Metaphor Use in John Donne’s Poetry In John Donne’s poem “The Flea” the speaker spends the poem begging a young maiden to have sexual intercourse with him. John Donne’s poem “Holy Sonnet XIV” also revolves around a speaker begging. However, the speaker of “Holy Sonnet XIV” is not begging a young maiden. Instead the speaker is begging God to come into his life and help him overcome sin. Both of these poems relay heavily on themes of sexuality and religion. All though both of the poems deal with these themes “The Flea” has a tone of lightheartedness and playfulness while “Holy Sonnet XIV” has a tone of seriousness and sadness. Passion is also explored in both poems. Sexual passion is explored in “The Flea” and Religious Passion is explored in “Holy Sonnet XIV”. Though one poem is about his relationship with a lady and the other about his relationship with God; John Donne’s “The Flea” and his Holy Sonnet “XIV” both rely heavily on the use of metaphors and imagery in order to convey their message. John Donne’s poem “The Flea” uses the extended metaphor of a flea as a way to support the speaker’s argument as to why a young woman should sleep with him. The speakers main argument is that the flea has bitten both of them resulting in the mixing of their blood together and intercourse between the both of them will be no worse of a sin. “The Flea” relies heavily on a theme of sexuality in order to coax a young woman into sleeping with him. Peter Rudnytsky states that Donne uses the metaphor “as a part of the larger Renaissance vogue for paradoxical encomia-witty praise of objects commonly thought to be worthless or undesirable” (Rudnytsky 188). Donne’s choice to use a wor... ... middle of paper ... ... take on two completely opposite meanings. Ravish and enthrall can either mean to be overcome by force or by overwhelming feelings of happiness. At the end of the sonnet we get an idea of what a relationship with God truly means for a speaker. God is everything that the speaker compares him to throughout this poem. God is powerful, violent, and strong. God can also be compassionate, loving, and forgiving. By the end of the poem the speaker understands that it is possible for God to be all of these seemingly contradictive things. A true relationship with God can only occur when everything in your worldly life is destroyed then built back up with your faith. Only once everything that chains you to worldly desires is destroyed can you truly understand and experience God’s love. WHAT DOES THIS POEM SAY ABOUT HIS VIEW ON RELIGON AND WHAT HE NEEDS? EXTENDED RELATIONSHIP
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