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

John Donnes The flea is a persuasive poem in which the speaker is trying to convince his mistress into having sexual intercourse.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

"The Flea" by John Donne John Donne's The flea is a persuasive poem in which the speaker is trying to convince his mistress into having sexual intercourses. Although there is only one speaker in the poem addressing to his mistress, and a flea which is used as an argument of persuasion, the audience is also involved. The poem is written in tree stanzas each using a rhyme scheme of 3 rhyming couplets and one rhyming triplet, alternating its metric lines between lines in iambic tetrameter and lines in iambic pentameter, these elements help to define a stage of persuasion used in order to convince a lady into the act of having sexual relations, which is also the plot of the poem. At the beginning of the poem, the speaker addresses to his mistress; to whom he tries to seduce by contrasting the cost of their intercourse with those of an insignificant fleabite. He uses the flea as an argument to state that the physical contact that he longs for is not a significant event, because a similar union has already taken place within the flea (lines 1-2). ...read more.

Middle

By referring to the flea as not only the one that unites them, but themselves, Donne is using a hyperbole to exaggerate the fact that he wants to persuade her by any means. In here the tone has changed, it is no longer a strong tone, but weak, he is begging for the life of the three. In this second stanza he is trying to persuade her on not killing the flea which has already unite them, the flea represents their union and the consummation of their intimacy which has mingled their bloods. Although, their "parents grudge" upon their romance and even when she refuses to have an intercourse with him, they are already united and "in this living walls of jet" they live, he tells her that: she can kill him, as long as she does not kill herself by killing the flea that contains her blood; the speaker says that to kill the flea would be like committing "sacrilege, three sins in killing three." By the third stanza, she has become "cruel and sudden" by killing the flea and "purpling" her fingernail with the "blood of innocence." ...read more.

Conclusion

The loss of her virginity will mean no more than the act of killing a flea. Donne used his conceit abilities to point out the parallel between the flea and the act of having sexual intercourses, which are very different things, and the fact that she should not deny him the opportunity to have sexual relations with her. In the poem, the speaker tries to persuade his mistress by using a flea as an argument to have sexual relations. He uses the flea to state that the physical contact he is looking for is not something significant and that it is as insignificant as the life of a flea. Donne uses hyperbole to exaggerate the act of the mingled blood saying that "this flea is you and I" (line 12). He also employs the metonymy and the metaphor to illustrate the sexual union by comparing it to the flea which is their "marriage bed"(metonymy), "and marriage temple is"(metaphor). The marriage bed gives a representation of sexual intercourses and the temple considered religious, is related to their possible marriage and the way in which the flea has already connected them by mingling their blood. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate World Literature 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 International Baccalaureate World Literature essays

  1. Casualty is an elegy written by Irish poet and writer Seamus Heaney. It is ...

    Heaney then poses an unanswerable question: 'How culpable was he / That last night when he broke our tribe's complicity?' The 'tribe's complicity', referring, of course, to the curfew set by the Irish Catholics, the phrase questions the fisherman's responsibility for his own death: should he have been defiant against

  2. Mending Wall by Robert Frost. Given the use of enjambment and blank verse in ...

    My apple trees will never get across And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him. Through the use of personification, the speaker showcases the vast differences between him and his neighbour. This analogy is apt because the acidity of pine duff would prevent apple seeds from taking root,

  1. John Donne's poem "the flea" is a perfect example of a love poem

    The first stanza is marked with the use of repletion where in the first line itself he repeats the word "mark". The repetition of this word displays his need to point out to his beloved the futility of resisting his overtures since the damage is already done.

  2. The writer of Unman, Wittering and Zigo, and Giles Cooper criticises the educational system ...

    The students do not like to be "a pack of sheep" who all follow one person" and they would instead like to be individuals. The students want to do what they want to do in the lessons and in return they will behave for John and make sure John gets a good impression from the head.

  1. Analysis of When I Have Fears by John Keats

    In order to convey this message and raise emotions in the reader, he uses intense and metaphorical adverbs, adjectives and uncommon words such as "glean'd" , "teeming" , "high-piled" , "charact'ry" , "rich" , "full ripen'd". The '-e' sound in 'gleaned', 'full-ripened', 'charactery' is not spelled in text, but an apostrophe is used instead.

  2. Duffy and Donne and their portrayal of the loss of identity

    as the miles rushed back to the city". The second, an epoch of a few days or weeks and the last over a period of months, even years. This exploit of chronology could be used by the speaker to underline the rapidity of change felt by her, losing pace after the move.

  1. Im going to do a comparison between John McCraes poem, In Flanders Field, and ...

    Capitalization of the word Dead is perhaps to make it more than just a state the soldiers are in, but more of a formal label. They died for the country; they are the Dead.

  2. The sunne rising by John Donne and Shall i compare thee by William Shakespeare

    Here , the poet’s mistress is the world and she represents all the princesses on earth. The theme of love is expressed : « to warme the world ,that’s done in warming us ,shine hereto us ,and thou art every where » .Here ,the poet « describes » his love

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