Flashcards in John Donne - The Flea Deck (32)
What does the use of "suck'd" and "swells" represent?
The use of sexual/erotic language
Why is sexual language used in this poem?
To show the desires the male figure has for the female, he has very strong lustful desires which he needs to convey passionately in order to win her
How is the speaker degrading the woman?
Through using her for lust, by treating her disrespectfully through woeful tactics
What is John also degrading throughout the poem?
The meaning of sex which in the Bible is only for procreation not for lustful desires or enjoyment which is something Donne would have known
What does the poem show about Donne's relationship with religion?
It seems to be degrading religious values as he is trying to have sex with a woman before marriage which is highly frowned upon, also without the desire for procreation
What is the flea?
An analogy of the man's argument
What do both the flea and the woman have in common?
Innocence, as they are both trying to survive
Who moves the poem along?
The woman's actions such as her threatening to kill the flea and then actually doing it in the final stanza
What format is the poem written in?
A conversational format, it is written how the male speaks to the woman
How has rhyming been used?
Rhyming has been used to express the way the speaker is trying to seduce the woman by the end of the poem
What does the use of rhetorical questions do to the reader?
It engages the reader as your intrigued as to what the speakers next argument will be, and ultimately the woman's response
How is the woman presented in the poem?
Through imagery, she is still a dominant figure however even though she does not speak
What fashion has the poem been written in?
A lyrical fashion
What happens to the final three lines of the stanza?
They are a tercet
Why is the rhyming appealing to the audience for this specific poem?
As it seems to be a love poem, as he is seducing the woman, i.e. could be regarded as a song, but also because rhyming gives the poem passion for the woman
"Marke but this flea..."
Shows how the flea is a symbol, a reflection, of what the speaker is asking of his lady
What is the speaker emphasising to the woman in the first stanza of the poem?
He is emphasising how he and his lover are one in the flea, but not physically one, only sex can make this possible and build up the bond of their relationship
"A sinne, nor shame..."
Is an example of the persuasive/manipulative language the speaker is using to try and get her to have sex with him
What is the speakers intention when he says 'A sinne, nor shame'?
He is trying to tell her that there is nothing morally wrong with what they would be doing and for her not to be ashamed of it as God will grant it
"How little that which thou deny'st me..."
He is asking his lady for sex, after her refusal he uses imagery of the flea to reflect how small sex actually is, it is simply in his eyes, a physical bond between a man and woman to seal their love
What is the speakers intention throughout the poem?
To persuade the woman to have sex with him even though she has denied him that right
What feelings does the speaker have towards the flea?
There could be slight feelings of both jealousy and resentment as the flea has had what he desires and took it without going through everything he has
"And pamper'd swells with one blood..."
Phallic symbolism, he has used sexual imagery as a way of representing the lustful feelings he has towards the woman and what he desires from her as a result
"Thou know'st that this cannot be said..."
Shows how they have no control over the flea and therefore shouldn't have control over their true desires, i.e. linking to 'if you loved me you would do it'
"It suck'd me first, and now sucks thee..."
Ultimately by stating the joining of their blood within this flea he is also saying they might as well finish off what the flea has left undone
"And this, alas, is more than wee would doe..."
This suggest his final opening argument as he is saying they are identical to the flea and should just have sex to fix their problems
A religious connotation of the Holy Trinity - the father, the son and the Holy Spirit
Does the woman fall for the speaker's tactics?
She isn't having any of his attempts and threatens to kill the flea so he no longer has an argument to make
What does the woman killing the flea suggest?
How easy it is for them to destroy the relationship by having sex outside of marriage, God will punish them for what they have done