Comparison Of How The Flea And To His Coy Mistress Present And Develop The Poets' Arguments

2014 words - 8 pages

The Flea and To His Coy Mistress are two poems written by poets living during the Renaissance Period. To His Coy Mistress was written by Andrew Marvell and The Flea was written by John Donne. Both of these poets were well-educated 'metaphysical poets', and these poems illustrate metaphysical concerns, highly abstract and theoretical ideas, that the poets would have been interested in. Both poems are based around the same idea of trying to reason with a 'mistress' as to why they should give up their virginity to the poet.
There is a similar theme running through both of the poems, in which both mistresses are refusing to partake in sexual intercourse with both of the poets. The way in which both poets present their argument is quite different as Marvell is writing from a perspective from which he is depicting his mistress as being 'coy', and essentially, mean, in refusing him sex, and Donne is comparing the blood lost by a flea bite to the blood that would be united during sex. Marvell immediately makes clear his thoughts in the poem when he says, "Had we but world enough, and time/ This coyness, Lady were no crime", he is conveying the 'carpe diem' idea that there is not enough time for her to be 'coy' and refuse him sexual intercourse and he justifies this thought when he suggests when she is dead, in ?thy marble vault?, and ?worms shall try that long preserved virginity?. He is using the idea of worms crawling all over and in her corpse as a way of saying that the worms are going to take her virginity if she waits until death. Donne justifies his bid for her virginity in a much longer and more methodical way, he uses the idea of the flea taking her blood and mixing it with his, ?It suck?d me first, and now sucks thee?, and then uses that to suggest that it was not ?a sin, nor shame, nor loss of maidenhead?, that by their blood mixing it was not a sin, she could not feel shamed and could not consider it a loss of her virginity. He goes on to suggest that, when she has killed the flea that holds blood, which in this case is considered as ?life?, from both him and her, that the blood lost had not weakened them (?Find?st not thyself, nor me the weaker now?) and she had not lost any honour. Therefore, with these points considered, the blood she would lose to him would not make her weaker and she would not lose any honour, ?Just so much honour, when thou yield?st to me/ Will waste, as this flea?s death took life from thee?. To some extent, both poets express a way in which they will consummate or have consummated their mistress. Marvell suggests that they should ?roll all their strength and all/ Their sweetness into one ball? and ?tear? their pleasures ?with rough strife/ Through the iron gates of life.? Whereas Marvell explains the consummation as aggressive, sensual and romantic, Donne uses the flea, a very insignificant, unromantic creature, to imply sexual intercourse, ?and in this flee, our two bloods mingled be.?
In any poetry, the language...

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