• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

"The Flea" was written in the 17th century and "Valentine" in the 20th century. What similarities and differences do you find in their treatment of the subject of love?

Extracts from this document...


"The Flea" was written in the 17th century and "Valentine" in the 20th century. What similarities and differences do you find in their treatment of the subject of love? "The flea" is a metaphysical poem about a man trying to argue a virgin into bed to have sexual intercourse with him. This poem was most likely written to amuse the readers and probably more for a larger male audience. The poem was written in the late 17th century in a period where sex within marriage was like a household chore, but socially, sex before marriage was like a sin, because society was extremely religious. John Donne is attempting to get these thoughts out of her head and persuade her to have sex with him. Metaphysical poets use a lot of elaborate and extended comparisons. They wrote energetic and vigorous poems that went against the common literature of the time. There are three stanzas in the poem; all 9 lines each, making it a regular stanza and rhyming form. Each stanza consists of three rhyming couplets and one rhyming triplet. The first stanza is strong and persuasive and is the introduction to the poem. In this stanza he makes the girl look at the flea. ...read more.


and their unity together, and that there is no shame in having sexual intercourse, but when she kills the flea there is nothing bad that has happened to him or her. "Yet thou thriumph'st, and say'st that thou Find'st not thyself nor me the weaker now" He agrees with her and uses what she said to twist her words and say that it was only a flea and nothing bad happened, as it would only be sex, and nothing bad would happen there either. John Donne eventually wins the argument. "Just so much honour, when thou yield'st to me, Will waste, as this flea's death took life from thee." John and the girl did not lose any life when the flea was killed and won't lost any life if she has sex with him, so it could not be too bad a thing to do. During the poem, when Donne was losing his argument, he kept coming back to the flea and the use of religious imagery to persuade the girl. This could be similar to the poem "Valentine" as Carol Ann Duffy uses the onion in a magnificent way to convey her love. In "Valentine" the stanza form is completely different to "The flea". ...read more.


I enjoyed reading both the poems, but the one I enjoyed most was "The flea". I found it a clever way to persuade people to do things and it interested me and may have made the girl change her mind, whereas to me, the onion as a present seemed absurd and had been rejected many times. I don't feel it was a very good way to go about telling someone of the love that you hold for them. The part of "The Flea" which I enjoyed the most is where he used religious imagery to seduce the girl. If he hadn't had used that then I don't think that his plan would've worked. Also, the quick way in which he changed his view on the argument after the girl killed the flea was very sharp in my opinion and sly and cunning. I think that Carol Ann Duffy's poem was all about showing your love in very definitive ways and not just with cards and chocolate, but with something that actually means something. I think that it would appeal more to the female of the species, and the flea would appeal more to the male of the species. Metaphysical poetry appeals to me, and so does John Donne and I would expect that many of his poems were similar to this. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Love Poetry section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Love Poetry essays

  1. Valentine v First Love Valentine is by Ann Duffy. The first thing that ...

    the careful undressing of love" This simile is very striking and successful because it is set out in a well thought out sentence. This means that love is gradually revealed, that there is a darker side to love which is best kept hidden.

  2. "To compare the attitudes towards love at the time both poems were written

    1990's and the attitude towards love had changed considerably, as this poem something that is not desperately needed. Both the poems portray different kinds of love. In the despairing lover, the poet is telling the reader about someone he loved, while in I wouldn't thank you for a valentine the

  1. Critical Analysis:The Good Morrow by John Donne.

    contrast to the inner, and more authentic, renaissance, or rebirth, of the lovers into mature love. The theme of awakening is also apparent in Donne's use of religious imagery. However, it is interesting to question whether Donne's change in religion from Catholicism to Anglicanism may have affected his poetry in terms of his use of visual imagery.

  2. Carol Ann Duffy - 'Valentine' and 'Before You Were Mine'

    She remembers as a child dancing to the 'cha cha cha on the way home from mass'- She was confident and wanted to express herself, but alas her mother has not realized her full potential; she married young and has the responsibility of motherhood.

  1. By close study of Valentine and I Wouldnt Thank You for a Valentine, show ...

    Duffy uses literary devices throughout the poems, such as metaphors, emphasis, oxymorons etc. These literary devices have a profound effect on the poem, displaying love in a negative light. But one of the main features of the poem is the conceit that Duffy uses.

  2. Explain the arguments used by the poets to make use of time

    he begins to suggest that the time isn't there, leaving to suggestion that they must not waste time and use it carefully. In the third section, Marvell offers a solution to the mistress, Carpe Diem, to seize the moment. Herrick's poem has shorter lines, already; this poem is very different from Marvell's poem.

  1. Compare the ways in which the poets have written about love and loss bringing ...

    Love is celebrated like 'A Birthday' that emphasizes its meaning twice. The second poem I have choosen to write about is a poem 'How do I love thee' written by Elizabeth Barret Browning in Victorian era. Her work was appreciated in the past as now in present.

  2. Love poem comparisons

    Line six uses imagery to communicate her meaning of love, 'Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight'. This line uses the word 'sun' to represent brightness and happiness, and uses the word 'candlelight' to represent romance and the night. She loves him all hours of the day.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work