Essay on Johne Donne's the Flea

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“The Flea” John Donne observes a typical bar, every Saturday night sweat drenched bodies emitting alcohol and pheromones from every pore, exchange conversation, pleasantries, and yes even sex (perhaps not directly in view but certainly eluded to). Is this animalistic, barbaric behavior acceptable? Should sex be taken so lightheartedly? Or do we take it too seriously, guarding sex like it was the Holy Grail, or the secret to life itself? These questions may be to deep and pointed for most to approach, yet John Donne in his poem “The Flea” wades through them like the kiddy pool. In this clever poem Donne uses a flea, blood, and the murder of the flea as an analogy for the oldest most primal exchange, sex. Donne, through symbolic images, not …show more content…
The speaker remarks that in the flea his blood and his lady’s blood were mixed, therefore during sex their souls are “mingled” and become one. This is where the flea becomes a marriage temple. During this part of the poem the he speaks respectfully within the metaphor about sex, noting that it can be a spiritual and important thing. But this is eventually revealed to be only a ploy to prove that if the speaker’s lady can treat sex so irreverently after he had made comments about how sacred it was, than sex should not be dealt with so seriously. After the speaker’s lady kills the flea he asks her if she has “purpled her nail in the blood of innocence”. Using Donne’s metaphor as a basis for interpretation the result is that he asks her if they finish the act of sex (kill the flea) if it will have really diminished her innocence. The speaker is commenting that sex does not have the power to take away innocence or life. The murder of the flea also adds to the overall metaphor. When the speaker and his lady’s blood is mixed in the flea the speaker refers to the flea as a marriage, therefore the exchange of life (blood) during sex forms a marriage between the partners. The narrator asks his lady not to kill the flea, which is symbolic of the end of sex, or orgasm. It was popular belief at the time this poem was written, that every time a man had sex his life was shortened, thus it is reasonable to say that the speaker is also representing the

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