The Flea Essay example

The Flea Essay example

Length: 1765 words (5 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The poem “The Flea” by John Donne is a funny poem showing that something as small as a flea can be compared to premarital sex. The flea, which is made to seem insignificant throughout the poem, is taken on a “sex” journey without ever even knowing it. The poem maintains one speaker until the end, but interesting enough, has two significant characters: the speaker and his lover. The audience is the speaker’s lover, yet she has a major role that goes beyond listening. While he is trying to convince his female lover to see that her virginity isn’t all that it’s hyped to be (insignificant), he compares a flea to sex in the process. He describes the flea as insignificant, yet the poem is mainly based on this tiny insect. By doing this, the speaker contradicts himself and gives the “insignificant flea” importance and does so throughout the poem. Ultimately by comparing the flea to his lovers “insignificant” virginity, he shows that by trying to convince her to give it up, he essentially gives her the power to make the final decision: whether to have sex or not, giving her importance even without a voice. Therefore, by trying to convince her through his speech to give up her “maidenhead” and give him “power,” he ultimately puts her “on top” with all the power by pestering her and essentially being unsuccessful in his attempts to woo her. In the poem “The Flea,” we can already see that the main subject of the poem, the flea, is given more importance than is let on. “Flea” is capitalized, when it could have easily been a lowercase f. This automatically catches the reader’s attention due to the fact that most words that are capitalized are important objects or places; in this case, the flea is a significant object and strangely eno...


... middle of paper ...


...t to lose her virginity. Even though the speaker is dominant in words, he is dominated in power. While he continues to rant and rave about her virginity and sex throughout the entire poem, she holds the final decision: She kills the flea and kills his chance of sleeping with her. The ball starts of in her court because he wants to have sex with her and this ball remains in her court until the final stanza. Throughout the poem, she maintains control and remains “on top.” Despite her lack of words, she is very important, just as the flea is in making the speaker’s comparison. The woman shows strength through her actions and by maintaining her own willpower. She has the power in the relationship and even though the speaker uses the clever metaphor of the flea, he ultimately fails in wooing her. Therefore, the lover, even without a voice, is “on top” in “The Flea.”

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay about The Persuasive Tone of The Flea

- The Persuasive Tone of The Flea       John Donne, a member of metaphysical school in the Seventeenth century, exhibited his brilliant talent in poetry. In "The Flea," he showed the passion to his mistress via persuasive attitude. The tone might straightforwardly create playfulness or sinfulness; yet, the poem contains none of either. What impress readers most is situation and device. The situation between the speaker and the audience is persuasion, love or marriage. As to device, the notable parts are diction and rhetoric skills....   [tags: Flea Essays]

Powerful Essays
769 words (2.2 pages)

Seduction Techniques Illustrated in Donne's The Flea and Marvell's To His Coy Mistress

- Men of the 16th and 17th century were the largest contributors of literature of that time. This led to misogynistic views, and subhuman treatment of women. Although it was socially forbidden for a woman to have sex outside of marriage, this did not stop men from trying to convince her. John Donne, a poet of the 16th century, wrote misogynistic pieces in his early works. Andrew Marvell, a contemporary of Donne, who also wrote seduction poems. Donne’s “The Flea” and Marvell’s “To His Coy Mistress” both have seduction techniques, yet the degree of success is different....   [tags: The flea, to his coy mistress]

Powerful Essays
870 words (2.5 pages)

Essay Explication of John Donne's The Flea

- Explication of John Donne's The Flea John Donne's, "The Flea," is a persuasive poem in which the speaker is attempting to establish a sexual union with his significant other. However, based on the woman's rejection, the speaker twists his argument, making that which he requests seem insignificant. John Donne brings out and shapes this meaning through his collaborative use of conceit, rhythm, and rhyme scheme. In the beginning, Donne uses the flea as a conceit, to represent a sexual union with his significant other....   [tags: John Donne Flea Essays]

Free Essays
406 words (1.2 pages)

Essay about Analysis of the Poem, The Flea by John Donne

- Analysis of the Poem “The Flea” by John Donne      Poets have often used symbols to convey deeper messages that they were either too afraid or felt that normal language lacked the power to express. Often when a symbol is used, the reader digs deeper into the issue more than if the message was simply shot out in the open. These symbols and metaphors can be used to portray beautiful things, or could be used to create a more compelling argument in a more subtle way.      In the poem “The Flea” by John Donne, the speaker uses clever sexual innuendo and metaphors in an attempt to manipulate a certain girl into losing her virginity to him....   [tags: The Flea John Donne]

Powerful Essays
476 words (1.4 pages)

Use of Conceit in The Flea, by John Donne Essay example

- Use of Conceit in The Flea, by John Donne      John Donne, an English poet and clergyman, was one of the greatest metaphysical poets. His poetry was marked by conceits and lush imagery. The Flea is an excellent example of how he was able to establish a parallel between two very different things. 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 illustrate that the physical relationship he desires is not in itself a significant event, because a similar union has already taken place within the flea....   [tags: The Flea John Donne]

Powerful Essays
1046 words (3 pages)

Essay about Seduction in John Donne's The Flea

- Seduction in John Donne's The Flea Poetry is not only a brilliant form of expression, but also a powerful tool for persuasion. The renowned metaphysical poet John Donne uses the genre for this very purpose in “The Flea,” a work in which he encourages a young woman to have premarital sex with him. Donne backs his argument by referring to a flea that has sucked his own blood as well as his lover’s. In the first stanza Donne assures the woman that sleeping together would be a minor act....   [tags: John Donne Flea Poem Poetic Essays]

Powerful Essays
1020 words (2.9 pages)

Love in Valentine and The Flea Essay

- 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....   [tags: The Flea John Donne Carol Ann Duffy Essays]

Powerful Essays
2313 words (6.6 pages)

The Flea by John Donne Essay

- The Flea by John Donne “The Flea”, a witty poem of seduction and conceit, taken from John Donne’s “Songs and Sonets” is the poem that I have chosen to compare to “Song”, another poem of John Donne’s where he is passionately pleading with his wife not to be disheartened about his departure abroad. Both poems which belong to “ Songs and Sonets”, written around the time of the 16th century, show that their title suggests they are both short poems, following the traditional form of a sonnet, consisting of fourteen lines....   [tags: The Flea John Donne Songs and Sonnets Essays]

Powerful Essays
2360 words (6.7 pages)

The Flea Essay example

- The poem “The Flea” by John Donne is a funny poem showing that something as small as a flea can be compared to premarital sex. The flea, which is made to seem insignificant throughout the poem, is taken on a “sex” journey without ever even knowing it. The poem maintains one speaker until the end, but interesting enough, has two significant characters: the speaker and his lover. The audience is the speaker’s lover, yet she has a major role that goes beyond listening. While he is trying to convince his female lover to see that her virginity isn’t all that it’s hyped to be (insignificant), he compares a flea to sex in the process....   [tags: Poetry Analysis]

Powerful Essays
1765 words (5 pages)

The Flea Essay

- The Flea 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....   [tags: English Literature Essays]

Powerful Essays
772 words (2.2 pages)