PosterĄG Stan Yu at 13:32:42 3/24/98 from c550-4.svdcc.fju.edu.tw
Introduction to Literature
About "The Flea"
Like the love poems we have read before, such as "Prophyria's Lover," "My Last Duchess," "After Death," etc, arrangement of the poem "The Flea" is a complete chronological story-with characters, plot and setting. It goes with seduce, persuasion, and then analysis; therefore, the function of the flea is different in every stanza. In the 1st stanza, the flea makes a means of misery and enchantment-with which the speaker inspires his mistress to leave for Eden of sense organ and hold the delight behind morality. (A sin, or shame, or loss of maidenhead) However, in the 2nd stanza, the flea becomes the combination of love, sex, and spiritual marriage: baby life; Donne's mistress is persuaded she shouldn't slaughter it. In first 6 lines of the 2nd stanza, in some way, the flea is just the blood Donne's mixed with his mistress'. As what I know is concerned, some people would be convinced that the blood is the source of energy, soul, and life; according to this, it is tenable then to believe that the mixture of blood could create a new life. Though the intercourse of Donne and his mistress is denied by everyone or the whole society, the existence of the flea brings the sense of recognition. (Line 10~15) When it comes to the 3rd stanza, we get the ending of the story (poem); here, readers won't find too much criticism, the speaker only states the mistress' absent-minded action and what she would feel after she gives up the flea. The connection between mother and the child would be never ignored-the reason Donne stands to, which would be discussed later.
I wanna talk about the special words and phrases in the poem "The Flea." In stanza 1, "pampered swell" would mean the mixed blood increases in the appearance; it would imply the mistress' belly gets bigger and bigger-the baby is raised up in his/her small shelter. As for the word "sacrilege" in stanza 2, in my guess, Donnes thinks it is sinful to kill the flea (baby). The new life should be welcome by his/her parent-the most beautiful and purest present given by God; It is not only a creature itself but also represents and contains its parent's a part of life. (three sins in killing three) Besides, I deeply trust that Donne's religious belief would stop him doing it harm. Thirdly, there is an elegant appearing in the 3rd stanza: purple. With the color, the speaker describes directly how cruel the mistress is and suggests the reason why she kills the flea. From the word "mistress," we can realize the speaker (Donne) is the person of higher class and "purple" proves that the mistress is, too. How could she have revealed the love that is not honored and ashamed-the flea is the sacrifice. Last, in the lines 21&22, the speaker depicts the flea is innocent-it is nature for a baby to struggle for his/her life; it never has the chance to decide if it should come to the world.
Well, it is what I don't understand-"Yet this enjoys before it woo." How could it be translated and explained? Does it also indirectly tells readers that the lady is Donne's lover behind marriage?
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