Student Question

Why is John Donne's "The Flea" still relevant for study today?

Expert Answers

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John Donne is a clever poet who uses what is called a metaphysical conceit to woo his mistress. He tells her that as a flea has bitten both of them, their blood has already been mingled, making her protestations against sleeping with him void and useless.

While this type of approach from a man to a woman could be seen as objectionable in today's world, Donne is worthy of studying and reading today in part because of the cleverness of his conceit and of his argument. In addition, people today still seek arguments to convince other people to date them and pursue romantic relationships with them. Many of these arguments are far feebler than that of John Donne, so it is worthwhile looking at how he pleads his case. Reading John Donne's poem also reminds us that the relationships of his time were not that different from the relationships of today and that there are continuities in the way that people approach each other romantically. 

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