Donne’s main aim in the poem is to persuade his lover to go to bed with him, to do this he uses various techniques and arguments throughout the poem to tempt her into doing so.
We see Donne trying to lure his partner into sleeping with him,
“And in this flea, our two bloods mingled bee”
By use of this conceit he suggests that as their bloods have already been mixed by the flea, they have been joined. This implies that when the blood mixes it is the same result as if they had had sex nevertheless as their bloods would have united. This is a very weak argument on behalf of Donne as the blood does not actually pass from one person to another during sexual intercourse; it is only bodily fluids. We can see that in “The Sunne Rising” that Donne suggests ideas that are unrealistic.
“goe childe” and “goe tell court-huntsmen”
This is obviously not thought about, because if the sun was to go away, life could not continue as the sun is vital to survival.
Donne knows that his partner is religious, and so uses this to his advantage by exploiting her weaknesses.
“This flea is you and I, and this
our marriage bed, and marriage temple is;”
Donne compares the flea to being a temple, which is an obvious religious symbol. He is comparing it to marriage where their two bloods have been merged to become, like the bond two people make when being married. Because his lover is religious, she would believe in not having sex until marriage. Donne is trying to convince her that it is as if they have already been married because their bloods have been unified within the temple that is the flea.
John Donne attempts to persuade his lover into making love with him by using metaphysical conceit, a common tactic used by several other poets of this genre.
“A sinne, nor shame, nor losse of Maidenhead”
The plan of John Donne at this point is to show the similarity between the two ideas of the body and the flea. This concept would have been appreciated by a reader of this era – Elizabethans believed that sexual intercourse involved the mixing of people’s blood. Therefore, the idea that the flea is an example of their mixed blood by this theory proves that intercourse has taken place. The language used n this line is soft in nature and persuades his lover to feel guiltless and secure – in addition the tone is fluent and articulate.
Donne uses various arguments to try to persuade his lover to have sex with him. She is tempted but is held back by religion, family and overall fear. Donne’s arguments are not very strong, although at the time they would have been considered differently.
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