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The Flea And The Sun Rising

1640 words - 7 pages

The metaphysical era in poetry started in the 17th century when a number of poets extended the content of their poems to a more elaborate one which investigated the principles of nature and thought. John Donne was part of this literary movement and he explored the themes of love, death, and religion to such an extent, that he instilled his own beliefs and theories into his poems. His earlier works, such as The Flea and The Sunne Rising, exhibit his sexist views of women as he wrote more about the physical pleasures of being in a relationship with women. However, John Donne displays maturity and adulthood in his later works, The Canonization and A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning, in which his attitude transcends to a more grown up one. The content of his earlier works focused on pursuing women for his sexual desires, which contrasts heavily with his latter work. John Donne’s desire for physical pleasure subsides and he seeks to gain an emotional bond with women, as expressed in his later poetry.
The two poems The Flea and The Sunne Rising capture John Donne’s primary motive to get in bed with women. Donne wrote these poems at an early age, and at that time he was seeking nothing more than a sexual relationship. His poetry depicted clearly how sexist he was at the time and how he used to perceive women as a medium of pleasure. The content of his early poems express an immature and desperate image of Donne, who is dominated by his fixation on the sensuality of women. In The Flea, Donne shows his desperation to have sex by addressing a flea that has sucked the blood of both him and the woman he is persuading. It is quite awkward how the poet uses this obscure image of the flea as a symbol of love and sex to convince the woman that the flea is innocuous just like premarital sex. Also he refers to the mingling of blood in line four, “And in this flea our two bloods mingled bee”. Donne is implying that the in the flea, which is an erotic image in this poem, there is an exchange of body fluids and this is analogous to the act of having sex. Donne continues to persuade the woman into sleeping with him by stating that “This flea is you and I, and this our marriage bed, and marriage temple is.” (Line 13) When Donne fails with his argument of the mixing of their blood, he switches to a more irrational argument. He uses the flea as an excuse for marriage and that they are now permitted to have sex. Out of desperation Donne shifts to a more religiously point of view by saying, “And sacrilege, three sinnes in killing three.” (Line 18) This means that if the woman kills the flea, she is killing the flea, him, herself, and God. However, the women squashes the flea along with his argument and Donne is left with one final go at convincing the woman. The final stanza of the poem expresses his sheer desperation to have sex with the woman as he deviates to using a lenient approach. He blames her not for killing the flea, but says that her act did not damage her...

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