The flea then, a creature whose predisposition of blood sucking usually leads to images of vampires or taking someones life force in order to sustain its own existence is transformed into a creature who carries with it the blood of these two lovers. With this idea of the joining of blood of these two lovers in the body of an otherwise un-extraordinary little flea, the poem becomes unifying element not only between these two lovers, but between these two lovers and the flea.
It is almost as if the flea is a witness to this moment in time where these two people love each other and thus, the symbol of the flea carrying their mingled blood is profound. Donne begins his poem, MARK but this flea, and mark in this/ How little that which/thou deniest me is:/It suckd me first, and now sucks thee, /And in this flea our two bloods mingled be. (Donne lines 1-4). Therefore the concept of biology is predominant in the analysis of Donnes poem. The word biology is used here to emphasize the nature of the creatures who are unified through this blood mingling.
A flea is usually not a vehicle in a poem whose used to transport such provocative feelings. Donne uses the flea to emphasize his own metaphysical metaphors in the poems syntax (Oxford English Dictionary). This syntax is made unique purely because Donne denied using anything typical of describing romance of love such as arrows, hearts, sighs, or wedding rings; he used the metaphysical approach of a flea which allowed the immediate common environment to perform in the poem in opposition to the cliche.
A flea is definitely not cliche. There is a definite sexuality involved in Donnes poem as he carries the metaphor of the flea and love with the lines, Yet this enjoys before it woo,/And pamperd swells with one blood made of two¦ (Donne lines 7-8). This use of the swells conjures up to the readers mind a definitive sexual act. Thus, the flea surpasses the being a vehicle of love in the context of the poem and moves on to more lusty retreats.
The use of a flea as an expression of sex is very atypical and that is what makes the poem stand out even in modern terms, especially in modern terms because it seems that modernity is consistently being bombarded with overdone scenarios of love, of the over-amplification of Valentines Day, that the use of something so mundane as a flea is almost esoteric in comparison to what cliches are still being used in modern times.
The movement of the metaphysical poets was an endeavor to mingle the commonplace (flea) or something mundane with something ineffable (love) or something tangible such as blood which is a symbol of life force for these two lovers whom Donne writes about. Thus, the accomplishment in this poem goes beyond the idea of using something as crafty as a flea to get ones point across, but also delves into this metaphysical idea and therefore the flea symbolizes not only love in this poem but the core concepts of the metaphysical movement: naturally surroundings being used to express the human psyche (Malloch 67).
Although Donne goes on to express the idea of murdering and of grudges as well as misinterpretations between families as well as the two lovers, the centerpiece of the poem remains the action of the flea and the mutual feeling of that action between the two lovers. Although Donne speaks about a marriage bed in his three stanza poem, he truly keeps the reader fascinated with this concept of sharing blood as an act of submission, of trust, and of a conjoining of the lovers in ways that the narrator had not thought possible but which suit his idea of love and romance.
Donnes poem emphasizes the innate ability of the natural world to be a symbol for the inner psychology or love of the human race for their souls counterpoint. This metaphysical poem illustrates Donnes unceasing ability to surprise the reader with his use of mundane objects set to a tune of an even more metaphysical element: love.
Oxford English Dictionary.2007. Online. Retrieved 4 March 2008. http://www. highbeam. com/doc/1O999-metaphysical. html Donne, John. The Flea. Online. Retrieved 4 March 2008: http://www. luminarium. org/sevenlit/donne/flea. php Malloch, A. E. John Donne and the Casuists. Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900, Vol. 2, No. 1, The English Renaissance (Winter, 1962), pp. 57-76.