The Flea by John Donne Essay

The Flea by John Donne Essay

Length: 2360 words (6.7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

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. However, they are not “songs” in the conventional
sense we think of and none of them are written as a sonnet. In fact,
Donne’s poems were intended for circulation around his local pub,
“Lincoln’s Inn”, where he could impress his male friends with his
bawdy poetic nature.

“ The Flea”, emphatically rejects the Petrarchan tradition of love
poetry, where the woman is seen as a goddess, an object of desire
worth worshipping by a man. Instead, Donne wrote poems that saw the
earthy reality of sexual relations between a man and woman. The poem,
whose historical convention probably started with Ovid, shows that it
was common in Elizabethan times to envy a flea for its access to the
female body. Donne throughout the poem makes references to the flea,
presenting a conceit produced of wit, integrity and persuasion.

The title, which presents the conceit, is in fact the structure of the
poem, the entire poem depends on this conceit. At first, this is a
puzzling image to the reader, it seems bizarre and inappropriate.
However, as the poem continues, Donne’s argument does also, and we see
how reality is conveyed by the vivid imagery of the flea. Donne uses
a three-part syllogism in this poem whic...


... middle of paper ...


...while, they will always have each other in each other’s hearts, and
that they will never really be parted. His final argument of
persuasion is that they don’t really need the physical presence, as
long as there is the matter of trust then he will return to her once
more.

Overall, by the structure and language used in “Song”, the poem is
very consoling and reassuring. Compared to “The Flea,” it is very
different as the respect for the women the two poems are written for
differ enormously. Indeed both poems are extremely clever and
logical, with well thought out ideas for argument and persuasion, and
are full of wit and clever analogies. However, “Song” shows a
different side to John Donne’s character than “The Flea” presents, he
appears more softer and respectful, consoling and loving than when he
appears bawdy and obscene, shallow and disrespectful.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

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)

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)

A Structural and Vocabulary Analysis of John Donne's The Flea Essay

- A Structural and Vocabulary Analysis of John Donne's "The Flea" In his poem "The Flea", John Donne shows his mastery in creating a work in which the form and the vocabulary have deliberately overlapping significance. The poem can be analyzed for the prominence of "threes" that form layers of multiple meanings within its three stanzas. In each of the three stanzas, key words can be examined to show (through the use of the OED) how Donne brilliantly chose them because of the various connotations they had to his audience....   [tags: Poem Poet Poetry Essays John Donne Flea]

Powerful Essays
1252 words (3.6 pages)

The Flea By John Donne Essay

- 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)....   [tags: Metaphysical poets, John Donne, Poetry]

Powerful Essays
1144 words (3.3 pages)

The Flea By John Donne Essays

- Sex is a taboo subject in this day and age to speak about however poet John Donne does not shy away from the topic in his writing. John Donne approaches sex through his poem “The Flea”. “The Flea” published after the death of John Donne in 1663 is known as an erotic metaphysical poem. A poem that focuses on the use of extended metaphors and put emphasis on the words rather than lyrical quality. Even though it contains an unresolved ending, “The Flea” is a lighthearted poem that showcases John Donne uses of creative intelligence of language and tone in the voice of the narrator....   [tags: Sexual intercourse, Human sexual behavior]

Powerful Essays
1255 words (3.6 pages)

The Flea by John Donne and To His Coy Mistress by Andrew Marvell Essay

- The Flea by John Donne and To His Coy Mistress by Andrew Marvell "The Flea" by John Donne is written in the 17th century as is "To his coy mistress" by Andrew Marvell. This we can see by the language used which was typical of that period in time "apt to kill me" and "yea" which are taken from the flea. Both poems also speak of virginity being very important, especially before marriage because if a woman had lost her "maidenhead" before, the husband would have the right to leave her without the need for a divorce....   [tags: Flea donne Marvell Mistress Essays]

Powerful Essays
6628 words (18.9 pages)

Analysis of Flea by John Donne Essay

- The Flea The narrator in The Flea is a youthful man trying to convince a young woman to give her virginity to him. He tries to do this by comparing their relationship to a flea that is in the room. The flea bites them both and Donne explains to her that this is symbolic of both of their worlds combining into one. He says that the flea is now the realm of love, lust, and marriage. At first this poem seems to be just about love, commitment from a male to a female, who says no his lustful desires....   [tags: essays research papers]

Free Essays
426 words (1.2 pages)

Essay about The Flea by John Donne

- The Flea by John Donne In the poem "The Flea", by John Donne, the speaker uses a peculiar analogy in order to persuade his beloved to engage in premarital intercourse with him. The poem is composed of three stanzas that tell a story in chronological order about a flea that has sucked the blood of the two subjects. It tells the reader how the speaker attempts to persuade his beloved not to kill the flea because it is their marriage bed and then tells of how the woman still kills the flea but how the speaker uses that to take his argument one step further and explain how since it is so easy and guilt-free to kill the flea, the same could be said of her going to b...   [tags: Papers]

Powerful Essays
1051 words (3 pages)