The Flea

Literature / April 23, 2015 / No Comments /
Detailed analysis of John Donne’s poem of arguments presented by man courting a woman.

In lines 11 – 18 of the stanza the poet continues the conceit to demonstrate that their blood is already intermingled in the flea and therefore, by implication, they are more than married (line 11). Therefore, once again he stresses that there should be no obstacle to their physical union. This connection between the flea and their blood is cleverly manipulated so that the refusal to have intercourse is described as being tantamount to a form of murder. The convolutions of meaning related to the symbol of the flea and the intermingling of blood results in a number of conceits. The flea becomes the lovers as well as their marriage bed and temple. The poem also implies that killing the flea will therefore be a form of sacrilege. The poet plays with the convention in love poetry that by not yielding to him she will be in a sense ‘kill’ him.

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