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

Through a close analysis of language, structure and theme, compare and contrast the poets' attitude to love in

Extracts from this document...


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. The poet is exploring ideas and feelings about lust and how unimportant losing virginity is, which a woman will obviously object to. The poem is written in three stanzas, which show the progression of his argument. The regular rhythm and rhyme implies the confidence he has that he will get the woman into bed for his pleasure and the strength in his argument. In each stanza there are three rhyming couplets and a rhyming triplet. This might represent how the flea, the unseen woman and himself are united as one inside the body of the flea. Although, there are a few exceptions, the few half rhymes in each stanza may show his conscience of being gentle and not pushing her too much. ...read more.


He agrees with her and then uses what she has said and twists it to say, 'It is only a flea. And it is only sex.' In the last few line of the 3rd stanza Donne has pushed her into a corner and his argument is won. The use of the flea in this poem is a conceit; John Donne kept coming back to the flea in his argument as a way of pushing his point. This is similar to Carol Ann Duffy's poem "Valentine" where she has used an onion as a conceit, as a way of representing her feelings and attitudes towards love. Carol Ann Duffy is a modern day poet and wrote "Valentine" in the 20th century. The poem is about giving something different to the one you love on Valentines Day. She is exploring feelings about love and how to express them. The tone throughout the poem is truthful, sincere and sometimes shy: "I am trying to be truthful", which is different to John Donne's "The Flea" because his tone is confident and arrogant: "When thou yield'st to me". The title "Valentine" immediately makes you think of soppy cards and romantic gestures that people give to their partners, this is due to the materialistic world that we live in and the hype that the media and advertising companies create. ...read more.


Both poems show different attitudes towards love and their confidence in expressing themselves. I can relate to "Valentine" because Duffy expresses her ambiguity about love; it is neither good nor bad. I agree with this statement, I think that this is what Duffy is trying to put across throughout her poem. Maybe that Valentines Day is just a clich�; that deeper feeling's needed to be expressed. The most powerful line for me was "I give you an onion." It interested me because it was so absurd and incongruous and made me wonder why she had chosen an onion to represent her affection felt for her partner. I think the poet felt strongly about how people should express their feelings to those you care about instead of following the crowd and sending pointless cards. I would like to read more of her poems. John Donne's poem "The Flea" makes me feel quite angry because he has portrayed how some men think that women are objects; only for their own pleasure and that virginity is insignificant and unimportant. But it did also make me laugh because of how melodramatic he was and how desperate he was to persuade her that he used a flea as an example. I think it was a very clever poem and would have certainly entertained the audience it was aimed at. He was a very intelligent man and I would expect that many of his other poems would be just as witty and interesting. ...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. Marked by a teacher

    Porphyria's Lover Analysis

    4 star(s)

    The author also describes in great detail the horrible weather that the woman had faced to get to the house of her loved one. This emphasizes how much the woman loves the man as she would come to him in a rainy and stormy night away from all the comforts in her life just to die with him.

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

    For example, the only use of direct Christian imagery in the poem is in the line; Or snorted we in the seven sleepers' den? This metaphor is derived from the tale of seven Christians who were imprisoned in a cave and slept for hundreds of years, until they were finally awakened.

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

    The poets viewpoint is both personnel and objective. It is objective at the beginning of the poem because Liz Lochead is very stereotypical about men, she sees men as stupid who don't have a high I.Q and can't write properly "scrawl swalk across the envelope" Also she sees men as the one who always cheat on relationships and

  2. Write about and compare 'Across the Barricades' (Post 1914 book) and 'Far from the ...

    the destruction of the hatred between the two battling families', which occurs after they realise the tragedy it can cause. Far From the Madding Crowd is a good example of an unconventional love story. It does however follow a similar plot to that of a conventional love story, yet it is more complex.

  1. In "Valentine", Duffy uses the onion to give an original and, in some ways, ...

    Most of the poem sounds as if the lines are natural and spontaneous, being written down by the poet as they come to her. Despite this, some of the sounds are still carefully arranged, like when she writes: "Its fierce kiss will stay on your lips."

  2. Poetry Analysis and Comparison: Cultivation and Antonia's Story by Owen Sheers.

    She doesn't seem to realize what has happened. The quietness and calmness of these lines is a big contrast to the 'beating', and 'thuds' that happen at night. 'She saw the broken drainpipe he had tried to climb' This brings us to the conclusion that this man, this boyfriend or

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

    On the contrary she loves her lover because she wants to get to know that person. She finds them interesting and different. In "Before You Were Mine" there are several references to time and it is one of the main topics.

  2. A Valentine's Gift

    with the tasty light brown colour of the cake, and suddenly I realised with great shock that it was the metal hoop. Before I could cry out, she placed the cake gracefully in her mouth, - I stopped breathing. I just glanced at her, she just chewed.

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