The Flea Vs To His Coy Mistress

Essay, Research Paper

Seduction has been the game most played through out the centuries, as males

attempt to convince and invite females into their beds. In Marvell’s “To His Coy

Mistress” and Donne’s “The Flea”, the speakers, propose a peccadilloes offer, which is so

cunningly backed up by a liberalistic argument and is presented to each female when

the generous request has been declined. These arguments are designed to induce thoughts of a

carnal nature. The persuasions used by each are completely different but are structured entirely

for one purpose. To corner or trick the maiden into saying “Yes”. Though both arguements are

supurb, Marvell’s has a nicer, refined style to it.

In “To His Coy Mistress” and “The Flea”, there is an exemplification of just how

crafty men can be during the hunt. The speakers, in both poems, makes a “modest” but

declinable offer for sex to their maiden of choice. And, upon rejection, each male begins a

fluent yet rhetoric arguments on why the maiden should accept his simple offer of

passion. For Marvell, the argument was that there wasn’t enough time left in the world,

and that the maiden should partake in indulgence before it is too late.” But at my back I

always hear/ Times winged Charriot hurrying near”(lines 21-22). He also states the

unpleasuarble thought of the worms enjoying her verginity instead of him. Suggesting

that if she continues to waste time she will die a virgin. “then Worms shall try/ that long

preserv’d Virginity:”(lines 27-28). Whereas Donne’s argument revolves around a

metaphorical flea. Which as claimed by the speaker, represents his union with the

maiden in matrimony, since the flea has taken blood from them both.”It suck’d me first

and now sucks thee/And in this flea our two bloods mingled be”(lines 3-4). And, since

their bloods have already mingled together, intercourse with him wouldn’t be a sin and no

honor would be lost if she yields to him.”Though know’st that this cannot be said/A sin

nor shame nor loss of maidenhood:” (lines 5-6)

Though however similar the gist of the poems might be, the art of seduction used

by each speaker is quite different. The speaker in “To His Coy Mistress” seems to change

his tone of persuasion rapidly from stanza to stanza. At first he is sweet, comming across

as a gentleman and overstating how many ages he would spent on a single part of her

anatomy “A hundred years should go to praise/Thine Eyes…./Two hundred to adore each

breast” (lines14-15). Then he dramatically changes to say that the worms will take her in

her grave and that she will loose her beauty and die. In “The Flea”, the speaker tries to convince

the maiden that they are one, since the flea has sucked both their blood and if she were to kill

the flea, she would commit three sins by taking three lives, refering to his, hers, and the

flea.”And sacrilege three sins in killing three”(line18). This speaker is however quick on his feet

and very slick. The maiden kills the flea, proving his convivtions to be false. He responds

however, by telling her that she suffers from false fears, because if she looses her

virginity to him, she still has her honor. “Just so much honor when thou yield’st to

me/Will waste as this fleas death took life from thee”(lines 26-27).

These two unique poems containing their differences but over all more

similarities are entertaining pieces for any reader to view and listen to the cunning speaker

attempting to get his maiden.


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