The Flea by John Donne- Summary & Analysis

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About the Poem-The Flea

PoemThe Flea
AuthorJohn Donne
GenreMetaphysical poem
MeterTrochaic tetrameter and trimeter
Rhyme schemeAABBCC
SpeakerA male lover addressing his beloved
SettingA private room
ThemeLove, sexuality, and the power of persuasion

The Flea Poem

The Flea Summary

“The Flea” by John Donne is a metaphysical poem that explores themes of love, seduction, and the blending of two souls through a clever and unconventional conceit. The poem consists of three stanzas and is written in the first person, where the speaker tries to convince his beloved to engage in sexual relations by using a flea as a symbol of their union.

Stanza 1: In the first stanza, the speaker begins by drawing attention to a flea that has bitten both himself and his beloved. He describes how their blood mingles within the flea, making it a symbol of their physical union. The speaker pleads with his beloved not to kill the flea, as doing so would symbolize a violent separation, which is unnecessary, since the flea already contains both of their blood.

Stanza 2: The second stanza continues the argument, with the speaker likening the killing of the flea to a sin. He claims that the flea’s actions are like those of a marriage ceremony, uniting the two lovers in an intimate way. The speaker challenges his beloved, suggesting that killing the flea would be akin to murdering three lives – the flea’s, the speaker’s, and the beloved’s. He urges her to see the flea’s act as a symbol of their love and union.

Stanza 3: In the final stanza, the speaker shifts his approach, acknowledging that his beloved has killed the flea. However, he argues that this act doesn’t matter, as it was just a small thing. He then suggests that the act of killing the flea should be viewed as a greater offense than the sexual union he originally proposed. Despite the death of the flea, the speaker argues that their love remains undiminished, and their union remains intact.


What does the flea symbolize in the flea?

The flea in “The Flea” symbolizes the speaker’s love for his beloved, as well as the connection between them.

What are the three sins in the flea?

The speaker in “The Flea” argues that there are no three sins in the flea, because its act of biting them both is not a sin, a shame, or a loss of virginity.

What is the irony of the poem the flea?

The irony of the poem “The Flea” is that the speaker uses a flea, a symbol of disgust and disease, to argue that his love is pure and innocent.

What is the hyperbole in the flea?

The hyperbole in “The Flea” is the speaker’s claim that the flea is their marriage bed and marriage temple.

How does the flea represent love?

The flea represents love in “The Flea” by physically connecting the speaker and his beloved through their blood, suggesting that their love is natural and inevitable.

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