The Flea by John Donne

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  • "The Flea" By John Donne
    • contexts
      • historical
        • religious
          • Elizabeth the 1st pestructed Catholics whereas James the 1st tolerated it
        • courtship and sex
          • Tudor courtship had strict gender roles, for men and women. women were supposed to be meek and submissvie and modest and the women were given as prizes.
      • social/personal
        • John Donne was born Catholic in a time when Catholicism wasn't promoted- but not persecuted like Elizabeth the 1st did-
        • secretly married his wife Anne and was imprisoned by her father
        • eventually became sermon in the Anglican church
        • published after his death- wsnt supposed to available to the public
    • typicality
      • Metaphysical poetry
        • The metaphysical poets were poets from around the 1600s. they used exaggerarted imagery such as the flea in this poem. derived from scientfic change.Topics of interest often included love, religion, and morality,
          • Is Donne typical of this uses a conceit which is typical.his contrasting themes of sex and religion throughout.
        • unusal rhyme schemes and double entendre
        • momento mori- you have to die - medivial theory on the reflection on life na ddeaht
          • couple with Carpe diem- sieze the day. life is for living and no regrets
      • Petrarchan Lover
        • A Petrarchan lover is melodramatic, self-consciously suffering and has given himself up to the power of his mistress
          • Is the speaker a typical Petrarchan lover? if yes does this change how we see the conceit e.g desperate and lustful.
          • Contrast with Feminist idea or aligns??? does the power lie with the woman in this poem about sex
          • Not typical of historical ideas about gender. in the flea it is the female lover that holds the power/ controls he speaker
      • His other poetry??
        • to my mistress going to bed
      • in the cluster- sonnet 116 (religious imagery)
    • Language
      • Lexical fields
        • sexual
          • **** x2, mingle, swells,
        • relgious
          • married, marriage temple, self murder, sacrilege, sins
        • judical
          • cruel and sudden, blood of innocence, guilty, true, false, honor,
      • swells with one blood made of two
        • sexual language-  swell- suggests arousal and perhaps pregnancy, metaphysical poetry clear juxtaposition of sexual language and religious allusion- "one flesh" sensuality and sexuality. extended idea as flea is like their marriage bed- important
          • uses religious imagery as a seduction technique
          • Untitled
          • Untitled
      • blood of innocence
        • elements of melodrama. heightened drama. pun blood of innocence  could be seen as virginity, ironic as shes saving it and flips societies views. judicial language, makes the flea and therefore sex innoncent
      • sacrilege three sins in killing three
        • Holy trinity, religious manipulation purity in their act, flea replaces god- belittling role of religon?
        • apt to kill me- she kills him all the time, metaphor of an ****** little death, power in her action
      • presuavive techniques
        • Rule of three, religious allusions, direct address, well strcutured poem and argument
    • Form
      • Flea by John Donne is a metaphysical love poem which takes the form of an ****** humorous narrative. The The predominant theme in this poem is seduction which is illustrated using a persuasive conceit of a humble flea.
    • Stucture
      • AABBCCDDD
        • Logical and is easy to follow
          • Lyrical- rushing her to bed?
        • three refrains at end of each stanza- again with the idea of the holy trinity and the three f them
      • stanza length
        • 3 refrain and 3 stanza
          • x3 stanza=  persuavive device used to seduce
      • rhyme
        • Iambic tertameter and iambic pentameter
          • end of each line is 8 syllables, manipulative and well though out
      • stanzas
        • 1
          • initial seduction
        • 2
          • religous
        • 3
          • judical
    • Big themes/idea
      • The paradox
      • religion and  marriage
      • sex and seduction
      • the conceit
    • Political/ alt theory??
      • Feminist Theory??- whilst the poem is crude and its depiction of women is perhaps objectifing, donnes view of Pre-marital sex and transgression against traditional thinking about sex and marriage does align itself with modern thinking. he uses the flea to highlight the ridiculousness of the idea of a pure women and societys view  of virignity as soverign over a womens life.
        • the woman has final sya. this is a poem of argument not action and it is the women who has the  final say, killing the flea and exerting her power
          • perhaps the only power women and was their own sexual power and retaining their virginity

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