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The Flea Poem by John Donne

Essay # 3

Comparative poetry analysis is the method of analyzing two poems by their techniques, similarities, differences, forms, and structure. In this paper, two poems are selected to analyze which are based on love. One poem is “The Flea” by the poet John Donne, and the other one is “my mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun” by the famous poet of William Shakespeare. John Donne focused on the physical sex and seducement in his poem “The Flea.” He is just talking about a mistress whom he wants to have sex with on his bed. The poet of the other poem was William Shakespeare, and in his poem of “my mistress, eyes are nothing like the sun” he focused on his “mistress” and compared her to the beauty of nature. In his complete poem he compares his love with nature, and in the end, he admired his love and said nothing in this world is similar to her. In this paper compare and contrast techniques applied to the two poems of different writers. Both poems are representing love theme but one poem is focusing on the physical love, and the other one is focusing on the emotional love. Despite bearing some minor similarities, the differences between Donne and Shakespeare are pronounced and analyzed.

The poem “The Flea” by John Donne expresses the theme of love, but it is sexual. The poet is using seductive language for his mistress (love) and tempting her to sex with him. It was shown in the poem that the poet and his mistress were in bed, but they are not doing sex. The poet is using sexual and romantic language and gratifying the women. He is trying that the women will like him as he wanted to have sex with her with her agreement. The poem is entirely based on sexual and physical love which is one-sided. One person’s emotions are showing in this poem, and it is one-sided that poet is appealing his mistress in the complete poem. In the first stanza of the poem, the poet talks about a flea who sucked his blood first, and then she sucked the blood of his mistress. Now she had both people’s blood mingled inside her body. As in the past, people of England consider the sex before marriage as a sin, so the poet emphasized on the sex part in this stanza and said that it is not a sin or a bad deed. He is comparing the sex part with their mingled blood of the flea as he is saying that mixing of fluids is not bad and it is same as the mixing of blood inside the flea.

The poem “My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun” by William Shakespeare shows a very different and a unique scenario as it is based on the comparison between the mistress of poet and nature. It is a short romantic poem completely based on the emotional love of the poet. The poem is divided into two main parts. In one part the poet is comparing his mistress (love) with nature and saying that nature is more beautiful and tempting than his love. He compares her lips, eyes, breasts, hair, cheeks and her speaking voice. He is praising nature and says that nature is more attractive and beautiful than his mistress. In the second and last part of the poem, the poet changes the scenario of the poem into a very sweet and attractive way of praising. He says in the last part that nobody could compare with his mistress and she is just like the goddess for him.

The poem “The Flea” is a seductive and sexual representation of the poet while on the other side the poem “My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun” is an emotional love comparison of real love. Both poets are representing the love and romanticism but in very different ways. The theme of love is similar between the two poems, but on one side one poet shows passionate love and the other poet shows the physical love. The tone of both poets was gentle and romantic. Shakespeare wants to tell his mistress than his love for her is unconditional and pure as he considered her as his goddess. Donne wants to have sex with his mistress and using the seductive language throughout his poem to seduce his mistress so that she will ready to have sex with him.

Love was the major theme of both poems but one represented sexual and other represented true emotional love. Despite bearing some minor similarities, the differences between Donne and Shakespeare are pronounced and analyzed, and the differences were more than the similarities between these poems. The seductive language, physical love and appeal towards the physical sex in one poem of Donne and emotional love, admiration and comparison between the mistress and nature in the other poem of Shakespeare, were the main differences in both poems. Donne wants only sex and talks in a seductive language in the complete poem. He wants sex but with the permission and choice of her mistress so he is encouraging her to do the sex with him. Shakespeare compares his love with nature and gives priority to the nature of his love. But at the end of the poem, he beautifully rejects all things and says that nothing like her love as she is the goddess for her.

Works Cited

“The Flea By John Donne.” Poetry Foundation. N.p., 2018. Web. 17 Apr. 2018.

Shakespeare, William. “My Mistress’ Eyes Are Nothing Like The Sun (Sonnet 130).” N.p., 2018. Web. 17 Apr. 2018.



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