dont have one Starting in the late 16 th Century and lasting throughout the 17 th Century, was a form of poetry that has come to be known as Metaphysical. Though not a poetic movement in the sense of having a manifesto (as did the Romantics), these poets explored similar themes such as love and religion, approaching them in a practical yet transcendent manner. One of the greatest of these was John Donne (1572-1631). his poetry is largely concerned with the enigmatic relationship between a person's sexuality and spirituality.
In tha canonization, and a grace to be evoked from above. is way, the lovers's sexual understanding is enshrined in both secular and religious memory, a union of the spiritual and sexual which has been the aim of the poem. Love is not to be ridiculed, as in the poem's opening; it is now a religion, martyrdom, "The Flea" wades through them like the kiddy pool. In this clever poem Donne uses a flea, blood, and the murder of the flea as an analogy for the oldest most primal exchange, sex. Donne, through symbolic images, not only questions the validity of coveting virginity but also the importance of sex as it pertains to life. The metaphors in "The Flea" are plentiful, but the symbols repeated throughout the poem are clear, beginning with the most prevalent, and the flea.
This small parasitic creature is chalk full of symbolic meaning. During the time this poem was written (the Renaissance) the flea was use in many poems about sex. I derive that in this particular poem the flea is symbolic of the act of sex from the speaker's remark in the beginning, "Mark but this flea, and mark in this, how little that which denies t me is" the flea is small and inconsequential, his lady denies him sex, which the speaker believes is also petty. The flea is described as a marriage temple and a carrier of life, but in the next stanza as something insignificant and small. The speaker applies a certain duality to the flea and therefore to sex. The metaphor develops more as it relates to the other symbols.
Blood is used more than once as a symbol. The speaker talks of the blood reverently and equates it to honor. Blood in this poem is symbolic of life and the soul. The speaker remarks that in the flea his blood and his lady's blood were mixed, therefore during sex their souls are "mingled" and become one. This is where the flea becomes a marriage temple. During this part of the poem the he speaks respectfully within the metaphor about sex, noting that it can be a spiritual and important thing.
But this is eventually revealed to be only a ploy to prove that if the speaker's lady can treat sex so irreverently after he had made comments about how sacred it was, than sex should not be dealt with so seriously. After the speaker's lady kills the flea he asks her if she has "purpled her nail in the blood of innocence." Using Donne's metaphor as a basis for interpretation the result is that he asks her if they finish the act of sex (kill the flea) if it will have really diminished her innocence. The speaker is commenting that sex does not have the power to take away innocence or life. The murder of the flea also adds to the overall metaphor. When the speaker and his lady's blood is mixed in the flea the speaker refers to the flea as a marriage, therefore the exchange of life (blood) during sex forms a marriage between the partners. The narrator asks his lady not to kill the flea, which is symbolic of the end of sex, or orgasm.
It was popular belief at the time this poem was written, that every time a man had sex his life was shortened, thus it is. In synopsis the flea, blood and death of the flea are all used as metaphors for sex; the exchange of life force (a very important thing) within the act of sex (represented as something as insignificant as a Explication of John Donne's The Flea John Donne's, "The Flea," is a persuasive poem in which the speaker is attempting to establish a sexual union with his significant other. However, based on the woman's rejection, the speaker twists his argument, making that which he requests seem insignificant. John Donne brings out and shapes this meaning through his collaborative use of conceit, rhythm, and rhyme scheme. In the beginning, Donne uses the flea as a conceit, to represent a sexual union with his significant other.
For instance, in the first stanza a flea bites the speaker and woman. He responds to this incident by saying, "And in this flea our bloods mingled be." He is suggesting that they are united in this flea and, thus, would equally be united in intimacy. In addition, he states, "This flea is you and I, and this our marriage bed, and marriage temple is." The speaker is suggesting that through the flea the two are married. Again, the flea represents marriage, union, and consummation through intimacy. However, the woman crushes the flea, thus, refusing his request, and states that neither she nor he is weakened by its death. Based on her reaction, the speaker states, "Tis true...
Just so much honor, when they yield " st to me, Will waste, as this flea's death took life from thee." In other words, he twists his argument to make the point that the woman will lose as much giving herself to him as she lost killing the flea - NOTHING! Secondly, Donne's use of rhythm aids in shaping the poem's meaning. The poem has alternating lines of iambic tetrameter and pentameter. However, Donne varies this rhythm to create emphasis on particular words or phrases. For instance, in the first stanza he states, "Mark but this flea, and mark in this." Instead of beginning with an unstressed word or syllable as in iambic, Donne stresses the word "Mark." This is important in accentuating his argument.
In this same phrase, he uses a pyrrhic foot over "but" and "this" so stress can be placed over the word "flea." Again, the flea is an important part of the speaker's argument and emphasis is placed accordingly. Finally, Donne's rhyme scheme plays an important part in the meaning. All twenty-seven lines of the poem follow the aabbccddd rhyme scheme. This consistency in pattern reflects the speaker's persistence as he proceeds with his request for intimacy throughout the poem.
And as no chemi c yet the elixir got, But glorifies his pregnant pot, If by the way to him befall Some odoriferous thing, or medicinal, So, lovers dream a rich and long delight, But get a winter-seeming summer's night. A Nocturnall upon S. Lucien day, Being the shortest day" offers a very different combination of sacred and profane love: the speaker's beloved in the poem is dead, and enacts through "the skewed violence" (305) of the poem his attempt to work through despair and anticipate heavenly reunion. Many critics have read only the despair. Richard Sleight, however, argued that the poem uses "destruction [as] a mode of creation," undoing that dichotomy. Miller focuses upon the ecclesiastical meaning of "nocturnal" and the phrase "this hours her Vigil l," suggestion the monastic hours, prayers recited at a number of specific times during the day and night.
The "'hour' of matins consisted of three nocturnes, originally recited at (or near) midnight," Miller tells us. Miller defends his focus by pointing out that Donne knew of such things and used liturgy in other poems. St. Lucy's feast was on December 13 and commemorates the Virgin; references and occurrences to and of five in "A Nocturnall" are interpreted as references to a number tied to Mary and thus the Ideal Woman in general.
Matins, more specifically, was divided into three nocturnes, each containing nine parts of three kinds; the "Nocturnall" has a nine-line stanza. Matins was traditionally interpreted as moving from worldly concerns to renewal through grace. The three central stanzas of Donne's "Nocturnall" move from dark despair to dark resign ment. Whereas Donne repeats (with variation) the first line as the last, unique among his work, the nocturnes of matins (though also lauds and vespers) were characterized by repetition before and after each of the nine psalms. St. Lucy's story is itself reflected in the poem only through the contrasting of "the lustful lovers and the sainted lady" (309) in the poem's last stanza.
Genesis was one of the few Biblical lessons to remain in the cycle of hours as it was recast towards saints rather than a year-long summary and commentary on scripture; Miller finds that Donne reverses Genesis in lines 22-29 of his "Nocturnall," sweeping away the Flood and describing cosmic chaos prior to Creation. Miller, in his conclusion, states that "the quintal, trinal, and antiphon phon al form of these nocturnes [of matins in the dine office] provided an allegorical pattern... of recreation and regeneration which Donne adapted" (310). "The 'Nocturnall' provides evidence that Donne might well have shared the opinion of a modern writer... when he says of the Night-Office that 'its chief grace isDonne's poems reveal the same characteristics that typified the work of the metaphysical poets: dazzling wordplay, often explicitly sexual; paradox; subtle argumentation; surprising contrasts; intricate psychological analysis; and striking imagery selected from nontraditional areas such as law, physiology, scholastic philosophy, and mathematics. that it stimulates the mind to serious reflection' (310).
these are the notes i have.