the flea


PosterĄG Sukie Lu at 17:22:36 3/23/98 from c445-51.svdcc.fju.edu.tw
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The Flea
I think this poem is about the speaker used a flea as a bridge that made him and his mistress combine to become one. The listener "thou" was his lover, I think he loved her very much and even want to make love with her, but she didn't.
In the first stanza, the speaker said that the flea sucked him and then sucked his lover. After that, their blood inside the flea combined together. In the seventeenth century, people believed that women would be pregnant when their blood mixed with the men's blood during sexual intercourse. So the speaker thought that he and his mistress had already created a baby in the flea because their blood mixed together in it, but they had no sexual intercourse. So they did no wrong and also the woman would not lose her maidenhead. That's why he said "Thou know'st that this cannot be said A sin, or shame, or loss of maidenhead". At the end of this stanza, the speaker said "And pampered swells with one blood made of two" I think that's because the flea was sucking the blood, then it's body was getting bigger and bigger, so it "swelled". But the speaker fancied that the flea was pregnant (his baby), so it "swelled" and "one blood made of two" that is because there was a baby in it and it was made by two blood (he and his mistress).
In the second stanza, the speaker thought there were three lives (he, his mistress and their baby) inside the flea. He said that the flea not only was their "wedding place" where they got married, but also their "marriage bed" that they could create a baby. I think in the real life, he couldn't get together with his mistress or marry her because she and her parents objected. That's why he fancied they were met in a flea and they would live there as a shelter "cloistered in these living walls of jet".
Then the woman wanted to kill the flea, as the speaker fancied that he was in it, so he said she wanted to kill him. He thought that if she killed the flea, at the same time, she would kill herself "self-murder added be" and also him and their baby as all of them were in the flea. That's why he said "three sins in killing three".
In the last stanza, I think the woman has killed the flea by her fingernails, so her nail infected with the flea's blood "blood of innocence". The speaker thought that's too cruel to kill the flea for it did no wrong, only has sucked a drop of her blood. Because the woman didn't make love with him and also she killed the flea, so she could save her honor. That's why the speaker said "Just so much honor, when thou yield'st to me, will waste, as this flea's death took life from thee."


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