Utilizing Poetic Elements to Illustrate the Struggles of Love in John Donnes The Flea

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Common associations of the word flea often include the existence of a parasitic organism. Contradicting this association is the connotation created by John Donne in, “The Flea,” in which a flea is compared to the desired intimate love between the speaker and their desired love interest. Hence, it is used as a metaphor. Additional insight is provided by the Donne’s personification of love as a flea because it suggests that the love offered by the speaker may not be reciprocal. The form of the poem suggests that despite the possibility of failure, the speaker is willing to persevere through any doubts held by their love interest with hopes a greater future. The poem acts as a mechanism for the speaker to assure their love interest that great love can be achieved and that they are well aware of the obstacles that must be overcome. “The Flea,” is telling the audience to seize the opportunity for love because it is not forever lasting thereby, illustrating a carpe diem themed poem. Three nonameters comprise the form of the poem each of which consists of identical end rhyme schemes, aabbccddd. By repeating this scheme in each nonameter, Donne exemplifies the persistence possessed by the speaker for love and that if initially denied; the speaker will continue to try to gain the desired love. In addition, many words are repeatedly rhymed in each stanza such as this, is, thee, be, and three which strengthens the speaker’s persistence for love. Further analysis of the rhyme scheme reveals that nearly all of the words rhymed are masculine (e.g. this and is) which suggests that the speaker is male. The synecdoche of the poem consists of alternating iambic tetrameter and pentameter, which helps create rhythm and helps to place the emphasis on the word flea, which is important because it is the object of the metaphor. The most efficient poetic technique utilized by “The Flea,”
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