"The Flea," by John Donne

Essay by ESCORT1292University, Bachelor'sA+, September 2004

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The poem, "The Flea," by John Donne, is an example of a monologue. However, instead of being a dramatic monologue, it is known as a dramatic lyric. Through the ideas of the speaker being a man, who is addressing his poem to a woman, and the use of the flea, which causes the speaker's words to change as the poem progresses, it can be seen that "The Flea" is a dramatic lyric poem, where the speaker is a man who is attempting to convince a woman to have sex with him. The flea plays an important role in the poem. It is not only used to determine that there are two people interacting, as indicated by the "two bloods" (line 4 Norton), but is also used to show how the speaker wants to have sex with the woman. Donne proves this concept by having the flea land on the woman's arm and having the man compare his action's to the little creature's actions.

The man implies that the flea sucking the blood out of the woman is worse than him having sex with her. He says that the flea sucking the blood, "cannot be said/ A sin, nor shame, nor loss of maidenhead" (line 6 Norton), yet the flea "does more than we would do" (line 9 Norton). The speaker is saying that the flea has the power to mix two people's blood, and this bond is similar, if not worse, to having sex. Since no sin or shame is derived from the flea's actions, it means that sex is not bad then either .The man wants the flea to live, as he says at the beginning of the third stanza, "Oh stay, three lives in one flea spare" (line 10 Norton). He wants the...