Journal on the Flea

PosterĄG Joyce at 23:46:40 3/23/98 from

Journal on "The Flea"
I think the poem is talking about the speaker who want to make love with his mistress. So he used the flea to persuade his lover. At the first stanza, we can see that the speaker described that "Me it sucked first, and now sucked thee". Then the speaker thought that their blood mixed together. Because in seventeenth century, people believed that woman would become pregnant when the blood of man mixed with their blood during sexual intercourse. And maybe in that age, it would be a shame to have intercourse with others before marriage. So here the speaker said " and in this flea our two bloods mingled together". He thought that although they did not have any sexual relationship, the consequence was the same. ( their bloods mingled) the following lines said that " this can not be said a sin, or shame, or lose of maidenhood". In my opinion, the speaker might think that although their blood mixed together, they didn*t have any sinful behavior. He persuaded his mistress that even herself did not loss her maidenhood. So he used the flea to persuade the woman to make love with him because their blood had already mingled.
Also the speaker thought that in the flea their baby was in it. He thought that the flea had pregnant for the mixed blood. So it said that" a pampered swells with one blood made of two". The idea of swelling suggests pregnancy. Then the first line of the stanza, we can clearly see that they speaker thought that there were three lives in the flea, including himself, his mistress, and the flea. Then it said that "nay more than married are" it may suggest that although they had not get married, their relationship was more than a couple should have. The speaker thought that maybe the mistress was pregnant, her parent will grudge. So "and cloistered in these living walls of jet". At the end of the stanza, it said that "self-murder added be". It maybe suggest that if she killed the flea, she seemed to kill herself too. Also, if she killed the flea, she murder three lives. Because there were three kinds of bloods mixed in the flea. ( the speaker, the mistress and the flea-their baby) so that*s why the speaker said that "and sacrilege, three sins in killing three"
In the last stanza, we know that the speaker*s mistress killed the flea. "purple thy nail blood of innocence" the color here is purple. "purple" is a symbol of noble and treasure. Because their blood and their baby were in the flea. I think the woman killed the flea because that the woman did not want to intercourse with the speaker, even get married. So she killed the flea and thought that she could be honored as a maiden again. She did not want to admit that their blood had been mixed up and the flea had pregnant. (actually the flea was supposed to be herself) on the other hand, the speaker object to kill the flea. Because he thought that if the flea had been killed, he had nothing powerful enough to persuade his mistress to make love with him.
In this poem, the flea was just a conceit. He used it to make his mistress to yield to him and make love with him. He might persuade her that their blood had already mixed, there is no different if they make love or not. But actually the woman*s opinion was totally different from the speaker. She thought that if she killed the flea, she would be pure and clean again. Not as the speaker thought that she had already pregnant.
Although I can get the main idea of the poem, I can not understand what the last few lines mean? I had tried my best to analyze the poem. I hope I can find the answers in the class.


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