Compare and Contrast Donne’s Poems the Flea and a Fever
Compare and Contrast Donne’s Poems the Flea and a Fever

Compare and Contrast Donne’s Poems the Flea and a Fever

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  • Published: November 10, 2017
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The Flea and A Fever are two different poems written by John Donne. However, both discuss the same theme of love. The two poems are different in the kind of love, the picture of women in both, and in the structure. First of all, the two poems deal with the same topic which is love but of course from very different views.

The Flea speaks about pure physical love and how does the poet can convince his beloved to do what he wants. He uses the flea as a symbol of their love where in it their blood are mingled.For Donne, it is their ‘marriage temple’ in which they become one ‘one blood made of two’. By that way, he attempts to convince her of what he wants her to do. Donne does not used love as something spiritual or related to feelings or emotion, but it is concerned of the outside, it is just physically. On the other hand, in A Fever, love is more than a feeling based on outside beauty or the physical appearance of the beloved.

It deals with a pure and spiritual senses. That is clear in the affection that the poem has and the reader can feel it.Donne, in this poem, shows his pure love toward his beloved who seems to die soon because of a fever. For him, her death is like the death of the world “The whole world vapours with thy breath”. The poem has nothing to do with physical love, but it expresses the sadness of loosing the pure love by the death of the beloved. About this point, it seems that t

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he two poems associate love with death.

In The Flea, the symbol of love which Donne depends on it in his argument is killed by his beloved. Because this flea has the two lovers blood, they die with it.But in A Fever, his love dies with the death of her as he declares in the first line “…for I shall hateAll women so, when thou art gone”. So, love in both poems is associated in somehow with death.

The second obvious difference between the two poems is the picture of women through each poem. In The Flea, woman is presented to be cruel and careless. She has insignificant role in the poem who tends to be controlled and ordered. Through the poem he chooses her to be silent, but she exists only where is a crime; which is killing the ‘innocent, holy’ flea.The poet makes her a passive character who follows the other’s orders.

The completely opposite image of women is found in A Fever. Donne considers his beloved as something scared that by her death the entire world will die. Even more, he sees with her existence the world become “carcass”…’tis but thy carcase then,’. In this poem, Donne shows more respect for a woman than he does in The Flea.

Another thing should be compared in these poems is the structure. Both poems’ structure consistent with their meanings and effects.The Flea was written in three stanzas, each one has nine lines and ends with triplet rhymed

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as aabbccddd. This gives the poem more powerful effect help the poet in his argument. He speaks about three characters, three lives, three murders, so it is three stanzas consist of three threes lines. Each one of those stanza presents a stage, a different part of the poet’s argument.

That will be more convincing. In A Fever, it consists of seven stanzas rhymed as abab, which gives the poem a sad musical tone compatible with the topic of the poem.Also, the poem’s building in that way gives the reader a feeling of passing death’s stages and the poet’s suffering and agony through this as he describes what she means to him. So, in different structures, Donne conveys his feelings and attitudes to the readers.

Finally, it is clear that Donne represents a different person in each poem. However, he deals with the same topic- love- he conveys completely different feelings. For The Flea, it is physically, with no true feelings of love, while in A Fever it is emotionally, which touches the one heart.

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