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

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

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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. However, if we look beneath the surface level of the poem, Donne uses the presence of the flea as a comparison to the presence of a baby, thus making the sub textual plot about aborting the baby.

     In the first stanza of the poem, the speaker develops similarities between the fleabite and lovemaking. The first two lines of the poem, “Mark but this flea, and mark in this, How little that, which thou deny’st me, is;” I interpreted to mean that the woman doesn’t deny the flea access to her body, yet she denies the advancements of the speaker. Next the speaker uses conceit to illustrate the similarities between their lovemaking and the mingling of their blood within the flea. “Me is sucked first, and now sucks the, An in this flea our two bloods mingled be.” The speaker uses this argument to show the woman that the same physical exchange, which t...

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