The Flea

  • Plot: The poem narrates the speaker’s attempt to convince a woman to sleep with him, using the metaphor of the flea that has sucked both of their blood, thus joining them together.
  • Structure & Language Techniques: The poem has three stanzas and a rhyming couplet in AABBCCDDD pattern, making use of metaphoric language and literary devices such as conceit to deliver its argument.
  • Themes & Linking Poems: Themes like religion, sexuality, manipulation and seduction are present; other Donne poems like “The Sun Rising” and “The Good-Morrow” share similar themes and metaphysical conceits.
  • Key Quotes: Phrases including “This flea is you and I, and this / Our marriage bed, and marriage temple is” and “Just so much honour, when thou yield’st to me, / Will waste, as this flea’s death took life from thee” are central to the poem’s argument.
  • Poet & Context: John Donne was an English poet and a cleric in the Church of England during the late 16th and early 17th century; his metaphysical poetry often combined eroticism with religious themes, reflecting the social and religious turmoil of his time.