The Flea By John Donne Essay

The Flea By John Donne Essay

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John Donne is known as being one of the most famous and influential metaphysical poets. The term “metaphysical," as applied to English and continental European poets of the seventeenth century, was used by Augustan poets John Dryden and Samuel Johnson to reprove those poets for their “unnaturalness.” As Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote, however, “The unnatural, that too is natural," and the metaphysical poets continue to be studied and revered for their intricacy and originality. Due to Donne’s personal experiences with spirituality and love, he is able to grasp the true meaning of metaphysical poetry (Brief Guide to Metaphysical Poets). Using all the aspects of metaphysical poetry, Donne creates a mysterious metaphoric poem titled, “The Flea.” Throughout this poem, the use of metaphors and breaks into the separate stanzas allow for the audiences to understand what The Flea is really about. At first glance, many read The Flea as a poem that compares sexual intimacy with an animal, but when broken down, it can be seen that the meaning is much deeper than intimacy, but it is a poem about the missions or trials it takes in order for this woman to lie with Donne, therefore making Donne the flea.
While The Flea, is in fact, a poem about a woman, when it is broken down and analyzed stanza by stanza, audiences can understand the emotions he feels towards this woman. However, before diving into the true meaning of the poem, it is quite important to scan it as a whole; therefore, looking for the structure, the rhyme scheme/meter, and the overall message of the poem as a whole. The Flea, as stated previously, is a metaphysical poem. This states that the poem does not follow an exact form, in some ways it can be looked at as sort of a fre...


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...s being meaningless also.
Donne’s “The Flea” is a metaphysical poem that is unlike any other. While the poem gives the audiences a metaphor of the flea as compared to the “love” Donne has for this woman when looked at closer, there is a much deeper meaning. The poem speaks of this flea and how it is doing something harmless and innocent, but towards the end of the play, it has become something volatile and annoying. To the woman that Donne is speaking to in this poem, the flea is not just the bug, but also Donne himself. Throughout this entire poem, Donne has placed himself in the role of a flea without even knowing it, therefore making The Flea one of the greatest metaphysical poems.



























Works Cited

Finch, Annie. "The Flea." Poetry Foundation. Poetry Foundation. Web. 10 Apr. 2016.

Poets.org. Academy of American Poets. Web. 10 Apr. 2016.


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