The Flea

PosterĄG Justin Hu at 12:12:17 3/24/98 from

In the poem called "The Flea" talks about the meeting of a man and his mistress. The speaker is first describing how the man is trying to persuade his mistress to go to bed. He is using the flea to persuade her. He first tells her that she is weak and small like a flea for him. It would be trivial if she tried to resist. Then the speaker talks about the consequence of love, which is pregnancy. In the 3rd and 4th lines it talks about the flea which had already sucked both bloods. In the 17th century people already knew that when the semen of the man and the "blood" of the woman are mixed then women become pregnant. Since in the 17th century the people were much more conservative, here we see that the man is showing that what they have done is a shame, a sin and a loss of "virginity." This could mean that either they had already made love or the man is cursing the flea for mixing their blood. I think it's because they already they made love because at the end the man called the flea innocent. At the beginning of the second stanza we are sure that she is his mistress. In the first six lines of the second stanza it first says that they are not married, second it says that even though their parents are upset but they are still meeting each other and third it talks about the place where they meet. It's like a holy place for them. It is places, which make them think that they are married. Base on the handbook we bought last semester and I found out that conceit is an extended metaphor which is using things to compare things that are not totally the same what the author is comparing. In this poem the flea can be a conceit because in the poem the speaker is talking about going to bed and the poet is comparing this act with the act of the flea sucking their blood. In the poem the speaker says that the woman kills the flea then it would be counted as three sins and not one. May be it is because there are the blood of three living things but then it says that it would be a "sacrilege." So I think that the poet is trying to said that if the woman kills the flea it would be like killing her own child. (We have said at the beginning that the flea has mixed their blood inside its body.) Three sins would be killing the flea itself, the "mixed blood" and the sacrilege of killing her own offspring. I think it is a terrible sin to kill your own child. Notice that killing your own child is a sin and if you do it on purpose it would be counted as two sin because we all know that god always punishes the people who kills their own offspring. In the last stanza the speaker is being a little bit ironic. In the last stanza the speaker is saying that killing this innocent flea would make her any good. The speaker also describes her as Herod, who only kills innocents. At the last three lines the speaker is telling her she must be proud of being able of yielding the speaker but how weak she looks when she kills this innocent flea. I had had many interpretations for this poem. Would the flea be only an imaginary characters this poem? Did it actually appear in the poem?


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