Comparing Poems 'The Flea And To His Coy Mistress'

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Society has too often condemned eroticism, deriving their disapproval from scripture and religious conventions. During the 16th and 17th centuries, sex was a sacred act, which was not associated with natural human pleasure. In the poems “The Flea” and “To His Coy Mistress,” the Metaphysical Poets John Donne and Andrew Marvel wittingly construct their poems in a form of an argument, encouraging sexual relations among young women. Metaphysical Poets are celebrated for their daring criticism of society through their mixture of ordinary speech with paradoxes, puns, and conceits; they aimed to express the ultimate nature of reality. In their renowned love poems, “The Flea” and “To His Coy Mistress,” Donne and Marvel embrace sexuality, each supporting…show more content…
In “The Flea,” when the poem shifts to a new rhyme scheme, it indicates a new idea or argument and the last stanza, containing only three lines, concludes the speaker’s argument. “To His Coy Mistress” is only composed of three stanzas, changing in length. The couplets in Marvel’s poem arouse a playful tone and rhythm within the poem while the deviating rhyme scheme and meter in Donne’s poem strengthen the intellectual argument of the speaker. The perfected structure of each poem enhances the appearance of the speakers’ arguments, making each sound cohesive and…show more content…
In “The Flea” from Donne’s “Songs and Sonnets,” the religious images that are presented are “two bloods,” “three lives,” “marriage bed,” “marriage temple,” and “blood of innocence.” This religious imagery makes his argument appear honorable. The religious imagery blurs the lines of what is sinful and what is not. The physical passion in this poem is not directed towards God but to his own sexual desires. The fact that he compares the flea to a temple is blasphemous: a flea is associated with disease whereas a temple is pure, thus the comparison between the flea’s body and a temple is identified as a conceit. On the contrary, the speaker in the poem "To His Coy Mistress" reluctantly accepts the fact that courting a woman takes time and effort. For example, “My vegetable love should grow/ Vaster than empires, and more slow." (Marvel 11-12) The speaker uses a metaphor to compare his love to vegetables and empires. Vegetables take time to grow and empires do not rise out of the blue; they take time to expand and gain power. This speaker is saying that if time was not limited a woman should be courted before having sex but since there is not enough time in the world to praise every quality of the woman, they should just have

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