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

Write a comparative analysis of 'Shall I compare thee...' by William Shakespeare and 'The Flea' by John Donne from the Best Words anthology.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Write a comparative analysis of 'Shall I compare thee...' by William Shakespeare and 'The Flea' by John Donne from the Best Words anthology. 'Shall I compare thee...' by Shakespeare focuses on romantic love, whereas Donne's poem, 'The Flea' is all about seduction and sexual love. 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. ...read more.

Middle

However, the poet uses her triumph in his own favour. He says that since nothing has happened due to the killing of the flea, then surely nothing would happen if she were to give in to him. She would not lose "so much honour". Syllogism is also used in 'To His Coy Mistress" by Andrew Marvell. Marvell is also trying to get the woman in the poem to have sex with him. He firstly argues that if they had all the time they wanted, they could progress their relationship slowly. He goes on to say that time isn't in their hands and then finally argues that, because of the situation, they should make the most of their time, and therefore have sex now. In 'The Flea', Donne uses the flea as the structure of his argument, however Marvell uses time to link the poem and his argument. Marvell uses other things in his argument to convince the woman in his poem. He uses the idea of space, by talking about the rivers "Ganges" and "Humber". He is trying to say that if they had all the space they wanted, they could let their relationship develop slowly. The poet also uses words associated with death, such as "grave" and "ashes", to convince the woman to have sex with him before it is too late. 'The Flea' is a battle of logical argument between the man and the woman. ...read more.

Conclusion

The rhyming couplet concludes the poem and signals the end. The metre used is iambic pentameter, which includes five stressed, and five unstressed syllables for every line. Shakespeare does appear to use a three-part argument, but it is not as apparent is in 'The Flea'. Shakespeare firstly argues whether he should or should not compare the woman to a summer's day. He secondly argues how imperfect a summer's day is unlike her. Lastly, he argues that as long as this poem survives, her celebrated beauty will survive as well. 'The Flea' has a regular rhyme scheme of aabbccdd, which gives it a regular rhythm. This poem is a mixture of pentameter, which are ten syllable lines, 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. Zaki Rafiq-Khatana English Literature Coursework March 2004 ...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. Compare and contrast the attempts at seduction in To His Coy Mistress and The ...

    To His Coy Mistress and The Flea each present differing arguments as to why the speaker and the woman to whom the poem is written should have sex - To His Coy Mistress uses lack of time as the main reason, and The Flea uses the analogy of liquids being

  2. Essay on Much Ado About Nothing

    In the play it says that when Beatrice and Benedick are at the scene where Leonato, Don Pedro and Claudio are talking that Beatrice and Benedick love each other but hide their love behind love taps. When they admit they are in love, they are more truly in love than

  1. Pre-20th Century Sonnets - Comparative Analysis

    Death is described further as being "Mighty and dreadful" which adds some destructive ingredient to the sonnet. Donne further disrespects death for how it has not overcome him: "Die not, poor death, nor yet canst thou kill me." Death has taken everyone around him but himself thus he sympathizes death

  2. Discuss attitudes to love and relationships in William Shakespeares Shall I Compare Thee?, John ...

    as the poet describes how the subject of the poem will be immortal. The speaker uses personification by giving human qualities to a summer's day. He describes his lover as the perfect summer's day, because summer is transient and can bee too hot and windy, but she lacks the extremes of summer.

  1. A Comparison of Two Love Poems, 'First Love' by John Clare and 'Shall I ...

    This gives the reader this idea of the love causing death symptoms, striking him in such a way that he can't do anything about it. 'My life and all seemed turned to clay.' this example of reification suggests a corpse entering the soil.

  2. How do the Poets Portray the Theme of Love in the Poems you have ...

    the most of the time they have together as time can catch you up and you may lose the moment. Andrew Marvell also portrays a very negative image as he wrote; '...Then worms shall try, That long preserved virginity.' This image is very negative as it is about worms eating away at the woman once she is dead.

  1. The Sun Rising - John Donne.

    outside world from the sun to this king to convince the reader that his love is exceeds the boundaries of the outside world. Donne endows his speaker with language implying that what goes in his head is primary over the world outside it; for instance in the second stanza the

  2. "Loves Diet" by John Donne

    If this action on his part would lead the lover to detesting him, would a title achieved in this manner be of a value at all. This line is rather ambiguous because it could also indicate that the lover in question is fortieth in line when it comes to the list of men in the ladies life.

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