February 25, 2019
Intro to Lit
Professor B. Nelson
The Flea Explication
John Donne's The Flea is a poem full of beautiful pictures and word play. The poem alternates between the pentameter and the tetrameter of the iambic. In each stanza, the rhyming scheme is regular and similar to the final line rhyming with the final couplet: AABBCCDD. Donne portrays a flea in an erotic way that gives it a person what every man wants; sex. Donne, explicitly, never mentions sex in the whole poem, but the way in which he transmits his message through his use of the imagery of the flea, blood and it disappears at the end gives a humorous view of sex and the trouble one has to face in order to achieve it.
The speaker tells his loved one in the first stanza to mark the flea and observe and understand that the thing is as small and small as the flea, even the thing she denies him is small. The speaker says the flea has sucked both blood and now contains their mixed blood. According to the speaker, this amalgamation of their blood is neither a sin nor a shame because it does not deserve to be a loss of virginity or maidenhead. The flea has become a container in which the walls enclose their blood and do something they can't do.
The second stroke is a plea to his beloved by the speaker not to kill the flea. He tells his loved one to stay his hand and not crush the flea because it is their union's embodiment. He says that the mixture of their blood in the flea sanctified them in a marriage communion if nothing else. The flea, the speaker says, is the symbol of their marriage when he says it's their wedding bed and marriage temple. Although her parents don't approve of her romance and she won't have sex with him, the speaker still thinks they're both cloistered in the flea. He says she can easily kill the flea and if she decides to do so, he warns her t...