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Fleas As A Subject In The Renaissance Era

684 words - 3 pages

Fleas were a popular subject of poetry in the Renaissance Era because poets were fascinated by the insects fearlessness and were inspired, soon becoming a popular subject among poets (Andy). Since the seventeenth century, the idea of “mingling of the blood” was an idea that Donne was interested, realizing that the courageous, tiny creature has drawn both of his blood and his mistress's blood which is something the woman wouldn't dare to do even to herself. As shown though analogy, tone, and symbolism, John Donne claims that there is no sin in being intimate in spite of marriage and that seduction is a powerful weapon.

Donne argues that since the flea has bitten her, why shouldn't they be able to have sex? To defend his argument and persuade her, he refers to the marriage ceremony which states “man and women shall be one flesh” (S. H. Hooke). He challenges that they have compounded their blood and are therefore one and married. The analogy of the poem concerns the Christianity religion. It is a sin to have sex before marriage according to Joley Eytel, but in Donne's perspective, there is no sin in having sex regardless of marriage. Donne also compares both his life and his mistress's life to the death of the flea when he expresses, “as this flea's death took life from thee” (line 27). When the women killed the flea with her “purpled” nail, to Donne, in a way it was murdering both of them which was the real sin (19). Not only that but also, by her breaking the religious bond of marriage, his women is also violating what used to be so sacred to her – her own blood.

The tone all throughout the poem is displayed as playful; Donne's speaker is playing the role of a seducer, trying to convince two people into doing what they both desire by his exotic arguments. Plenty of Christians would have found it profane to use religion to have an affair just as Donne ...

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