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The Flea

3 Pages 865 Words

The Flea by John Donne
The Flea by John Donne is a poem of sadistic seduction. The poem has many metaphors that are woven into each verse to represent much deeper meanings. These metaphors also show the poet’s plan of seduction that he delivers to his lady of honor. At first, it appears to be a love poem from a man to his lady who will not give in to his lustful desires. The speaker is actually arguing a point to his lady; she will not lose her honor if she gives in to his sexual desires.
The speaker starts off by condemning the act of sexual intercourse. He says that the act is of little importance because they are already joined by blood within the flea that has bitten each of them. So, if they are joined within this flea, the act itself cannot hold a great amount of importance. This mixing of bloods upsets the lady and she then smashes the flea. The speaker then claims that she has cast away her innocence by killing the flea. So now, she can not lose her innocence by giving in to him, because she has already lost it when she smashed the flea. She did not lose her honor, only her innocence, so therefore, giving him into to him would not constitute losing her honor.
There are many symbols within the play that portray deeper meanings. There is a reference to the lady having a stature of royalty when she “purpled” her nail in the “blood of innocence” (945) in line 20. The description of the swelling of the insect with “one blood made of two” (945) in line 8 is a suggestive of surrogate pregnancy. This reference to a perversion of motherhood is a very disgusting one, which makes it natural for the lady to kill the flea. Also, the word “suck” (945) is used many times throughout the play, which suggests lust or passion which leads to the loss of innocence. The man admits that the flea did suck him first (his loss of innocence), but he is still honorable. So therefore, he displays another reason why it i...

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