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Discuss Alexander Pope's 'the Rape Of The Lock' As A 'mock Heroic Poem'.

7146 words - 29 pages

The FleaBy John DonneMark but this flea, and mark in this,How little that which thou deniest me is;It sucked me first, and now sucks thee,And in this flea our two bloods mingled be;Thou know'st that this cannot be saidA sin, nor shame, nor loss of maidenhead,Yet this enjoys before it woo,And pampered swells with one blood made of two,And this, alas, is more than we would do.Oh stay, three lives in one flea spare,Where we almost, nay more than married are.This flea is you and I, and thisOur mariage bed, and marriage temple is;Though parents grudge, and you, w'are met,And cloistered in these living walls of jet.Though use make you apt to kill me,Let not to that, self-murder added be,And sacrilege, three sins in killing three.Cruel and sudden, hast thou sincePurpled thy nail, in blood of innocence?Wherein could this flea guilty be,Except in that drop which it sucked from thee?Yet thou triumph'st, and say'st that thouFind'st not thy self, nor me the weaker now;'Tis true; then learn how false, fears be:Just so much honor, when thou yield'st to me,Will waste, as this flea's death took life from thee."The Flea"The speaker uses the occasion of a flea hopping from himself to a young lady as an excuse to argue that the two of them should make love. Since in the flea their blood is mixed together, he says that they have already been made as one in the body of the flea. Besides, the flea pricked her and got what it wanted without having to woo her. The flea's bite and mingling of their bloods is not considered a sin, so why should their love-making?In the second stanza the speaker attempts to prevent the woman from killing the flea. He argues that since the flea contains the "life" of both herself and the speaker, she would be guilty both of suicide and a triple homicide in killing it.The woman in question is obviously not convinced, for in the third stanza she has killed the flea with a fingernail. The speaker then turns this around to point out that, although the flea which contained portions of their lives is dead, neither of them is the weaker for it. If this commingling of bodily fluids can leave no lasting effect, then why does she hesitate to join with him in sexual intimacy? After all, her honor will be equally undiminished.AnalysisDonne here makes use of the wit for which he eventually became famous-although in his own day his poetry was often considered too lurid to gain popular notoriety, and little of it was published during his lifetime. One of his earlier poems, "The Flea," demonstrates his ability to take a controlling metaphor and adapt it to unusual circumstances. "The Flea" is made up of three nine-line stanzas following an aabbccddd rhyme scheme.He begins the poem by asking the young woman to "Mark this flea" (line 1) which has bitten and sucked blood from both himself and her. He points out that she has "denied" him something which the flea has not refrained from enjoying: the intimate union of their bodily fluids (in this case, blood)....

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