Loading presentation...

Present Remotely

Send the link below via email or IM

Copy

Present to your audience

Start remote presentation

  • Invited audience members will follow you as you navigate and present
  • People invited to a presentation do not need a Prezi account
  • This link expires 10 minutes after you close the presentation
  • A maximum of 30 users can follow your presentation
  • Learn more about this feature in our knowledge base article

Do you really want to delete this prezi?

Neither you, nor the coeditors you shared it with will be able to recover it again.

DeleteCancel

Make your likes visible on Facebook?

Connect your Facebook account to Prezi and let your likes appear on your timeline.
You can change this under Settings & Account at any time.

No, thanks

"The Flea" by John Donne

No description
by

David Evans

on 5 November 2014

Comments (0)

Please log in to add your comment.

Report abuse

Transcript of "The Flea" by John Donne

"The Flea" by John Donne
Analysis done by David Evans

The Poem/Reading
Mark 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 said

A 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 this

Our 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.

Line-By-Line Interpretation
Mark 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 said

A 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.

Themes
-Sex
* The poem is specifically focused on the speaker's sexual desire and does not take into account any relationship with the woman.

-Marriage
* Throughout the poem the speaker refers to marriage. The speaker is more specifically talking about what a married couple would do in the bed room. Thus, marriage in this poem is a euphemism for sex.

-Guilt
* The speaker is trying to play a guilt trip on the woman to get her to sleep with him by placing guilt of the woman that would arise from killing the flea.

-Reputation
* If the woman were to sleep with him it would destroy the way that society looks at her because in the seventeenth century sex out of marriage was considered a severe sin.

-Manipulation
* The speaker's main objective in the whole poem is to manipulate the woman into believing that the repercussions for giving into him would be a tiny and insignificant as the flea.

-Religion
* Donne makes religious references all throughout the poem by discussing marriage and the use of "temple" in line 13. The speaker uses religious reference to distract from his crude intent. That is why he references to "marriage" instead of telling her his direct interpretation of "marriage".
Questions
-According to the speaker, why would the woman be committing sacrilege if she killed the flea?

- Does the woman resist the speaker's advances because of her sense of honor or because she fears the way that society will condemn her?

- How would the situation in this poem be different if it took place today?


Introduction:
Author/background
John Donne (1572-1631) was born into a Catholic family during
a strong anti-Catholic period in England.

He entered Oxford University at the age of 11. After attending for 3 years, he spent another 3 at the University of Cambridge.

He never received degrees due to his Catholicism.

This poem takes place during thee seventeenth century (several years before the sexual revolution). A time when sex was seen as a serious sin.
Cruel and sudden, hast thou since

Purpled 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 thou

Find’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.
Look at this flea, and note this.

What you are denying me is insignificant.

First the flea sucked my blood, and now
yours.
Inside the flea our blood is together.

You know that this cannot be known by others.

A sin, or shame, or loss of your virginity.

Yet the flea gets to enjoy you without having to woo you first.
and is pampered as it sucks the blood.

And this, sadly, is more than we would do.
Stanza 1
Stanza 2
Oh stay, three lives in one flea spare,

Where we almost, nay more than married are.

This flea is you and I, and this

Our marriage 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.
Spare the flea because all three of our lives are combined inside the flea.

In the flea we are more than married.


This flea is you and I and this

This is where we consummate and consecrate our marriage.


Though your parents and you dislike that
we are together.

Despite their objections, this "marriage" is already taking place inside the flea.

Though your experience makes you able to kill me,

Don't kill the flea because that would be killing yourself. Thus adding to the sins committed.
You are committing three sins by killing three( the flea).


Stanza 3
Cruel and sudden, hast thou since

Purpled 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 thou

Find’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.
She has killed the flea hastily and the speaker calls her decision cruel and sudden.

You have killed the innocent flea and nothing has happened, but getting purple blood on your nail.

What could this flea possibly be guilty of?

Except for the drop of blood it sucked from you.


Yet you triumph and say that you


have ended the argument and we are equal now.

This is true; but it proves that your fears were false.

Just as much of your honor, when you give in to me,


will be lost, as the amount of life the flea took from you when you killed it.
Symbolism

Imagery
Form and Meter
- Marriage

- Their blood in the flea

- (line 7) the flea "enjoys" the woman's flesh, but to the
speaker "enjoys" means sex.

- Killing the flea
The preservation of her life when the flea dies and the preservation of her honor after she has given in to him are compared in a simile. (lines 26-27)

- The flea can also be a religious symbol.
Rhyme scheme: AABBCCDDD

The main rhythmic unit is the iamb: a short, unaccented syllable followed by a long, accented syllable.

The couplets with a triplet at the end of each stanza help the reader keep track of the speaker's argument.

The arguments generally come in 2 line units, so with each new rhyme comes another argument.

The last three lines use a clever pairing of the words be, me , and thee. Donne unites these words in rhyme and in real life.


" It suck'd me first, and now sucks thee"
- The speaker is trying to arouse the woman by this sucking image.

"and pampered swells with one blood made of two"
- This creates an image of the flea swelling up with blood as it continues to suck. The flea is gradually expanding with a look of satisfaction.

" and in this flea our two bloods mingled be"
- Creates the image of the bloods in the flea "mingling" as if they were conversing at a party.
Full transcript