The Flea by John Donne and To His Coy Mistress by Andrew Marvell
"The Flea" by John Donne is written in the 17th century as is "To his
coy mistress" by Andrew Marvell. This we can see by the language used
which was typical of that period in time "apt to kill me" and "yea"
which are taken from the flea. Both poems also speak of virginity
being very important, especially before marriage because if a woman
had lost her "maidenhead" before, the husband would have the right to
leave her without the need for a divorce.
Both poems have the same theme of seduction. In "The flea" this is put
across in each in three regular stanzas where as "To His Coy Mistress"
is written in to sections. This is to convey that each stanza is still
about the same subject because they are of similar lengths and writing
style. The first stanza of "The Flea" conveys the message of how the
flea has taken blood from both of their bodies and has combine it in
the body of the flea, and so making them united as one "And in this
flea, our two bloods mingled be". Donne's argument is based on this
flea throughout the three stanza's and goes on to start his persuasion
that the flea has had its pleasure in the form of food, and so why can
they not enjoy in a sexual relationship and experience pleasure
similar to what the flea has had, but without the trouble of wooing
her leading on to marrying her. In the second stanza he then goes on
to further push his argument (which at this time seems to be going
quite well) that in the flea's "living wall of jet" they have been put
together even though her parents have doubts "Though parents grudge"
and are almost married (since their bloods have been combined and
become one which, in that period of time should only be carried out
after marriage) "yea more than married are." Towards the end of this
stanza his argument seems to be faltering as she is about to kill the
flea and so destroying his whole baseline for his argument "And
sacrilege, three sins in killing three." He tries extremely hard to
persuade her not to by saying she is wanting to kill him and her self
"Let not to that self murder added be," because killing yourself is a
sin. By the third verse the lady has killed the flea attempting to
squash his contention. He then attempts to make her feel guilty "cruel
and sudden, hast thou since, Purpled thy nail, in blood of innocence?"
"To his coy mistress" is based on the same theme as "The flea" as
Marvell tries to woo his unyielding mistress with the hackneyed
argument that time is exceptionally precious and does not stop for
anyone or anything and that we should live for the moment, enjoying
our selves to the maximum. "Times winged chariot hurrying near;" this
is a reference to the Greek mythology that the sun was pulled across
the sky by the God Apollo. Throughout the three similar length
sections Marvell uses flattery and a strong, persuasive argument. In
section one lines 1-25 Marvell...