Essay heading: Difficulties of Identifying Sexual Status in Donne's 'The Flea'

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Poetry & Poets


Written by:

Jimmy Breck-Mc Kye


Date added:

June 30, 2009






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5 / 1226


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it may be compared to ‘yielding’) and on the impossibility of doing so (referring to the mistress’ counter-argument, where the flea’s death cannot be equated to the death of man and wife). That is, one might translate the meaning of the climax as: ‘this flea’s death did not kill you, and therefore the flea cannot be identified with us, yet this flea represents us, and so the insignificant death of a flea shows you how insignificant (“little”) my enjoyment of you is for matters of “honor”’...
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Such an argument is obviously a contradiction- he argues at the same time the flea’s capacity and incapacity to represent the woman and husband. Similarly, he insists on the essential privacy of sexuality, repeating and emphasising “marriage” in line 13, by which he figures the domestic space and its objects as defined in primarily erotic terms...
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