How does the woman "triumph..." in stanza 3 in John Donne's poem "The Flea"?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The brief answer would be that the woman triumphs by killing the flea that the speaker has been begging her not to kill.  We can infer from the poem that she has killed it with one of her nails.  We know this because she is said to have "Purpled thy...

See
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

The brief answer would be that the woman triumphs by killing the flea that the speaker has been begging her not to kill.  We can infer from the poem that she has killed it with one of her nails.  We know this because she is said to have "Purpled thy nail in blood of innocence..."

I think you can also think of this as the woman triumphing by rejecting the man and his desires.  He has been hoping that she will not kill the flea and you can see that as a symbol for him hoping she will make love with him.  So you might say that she triumphs by rejecting his physical advances (or by squashing his argument about why she should make love with him) as well.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team