Comparative Analysis of Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? and The Flea

Comparative Analysis of Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? and The Flea

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Comparative Analysis of "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?" by William Shakespeare and The Flea by John Donne

'Shall I compare thee' by Shakespeare focuses on romantic love,
whereas Donne's poem, 'The Flea' is all about seduction and sexual

The situations in the two poems are very different. In 'Shall I
compare thee', the poet is shown as a lover who is addressing his
lady. His tone is gentle and romantic. He starts with a rhetorical
question to which he must answer and therefore he does not put demand
upon the lady. The poem gives the impression that it is set perhaps in
his room, where he is composing his poem. One thing is for sure and
that is that the woman he is addressing is not with him, because all
the way through the poem, there is no response from her. Shakespeare
wants to emphasize her beauty.

In 'The Flea' the poet is directly appealing to the woman or his
mistress. They seem to be in bed together with a flea, but no sex
seems to have taken place. If it had, then the situation would be very
different. The poet has seduced her as far as the bedroom and at this
point, it seems as though he is going to try a new strategy. The woman
does not appear to be very keen and is resisting his advances.

Compared with Donne's poem, in 'Shall I compare thee' the poet is
simply flattering the woman and wants her to like him. It is also
one-sided, unlike in 'The Flea' where the woman gives her views as
well. 'Shall I compare thee' is similar to 'First Love' by John Clare
in this way. In 'First Love', only the poet's views are shown and
therefore it is also one-sided. In 'The Flea' the poet's aim is to
have sex with ...

... middle of paper ...

..., and tetrameters, which are eight syllable lines. Donne
uses an obvious three-part argument, or syllogism, where he uses the
flea to structure it.

Shakespeare uses a sonnet, which was a traditional way of writing
about romantic love. Donne's poem is more intellectual in which he
uses persuasive and rhetorical devices.

The comparison's Shakespeare uses are passionate and interesting, but
Donne's poem is more enjoyable to read since it uses wit and a clever
structure to make it entertaining. The farfetched idea of using a flea
to persuade a woman for sex is very unusual and makes the poem more
enjoyable. Shakespeare's poem is more typical of a love poem, since
the language he uses is more affectionate, but I have found Donne's
more appealing to read because the wittiness and content of the poem
is so unexpected.

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