The Analysis of the Profane and Sacred in John Donne's Poems "The Flea" and "Holy Sonnet 14"

1867 words 8 pages
John Donne who is considered to be one of the wittiest poets of the seventeenth century writes the metaphysical poem "The Flea" and the religious poem "Holy Sonnet 14". In both poems, Donne explores the two opposing themes of physical and sacred love; in his love poem "The Flea," he depicts the speaker as an immoral human being who is solely concerned with pleasing himself, where as in his sacred poem "Holy Sonnet 14" Donne portrays the speaker as a noble human being because he is anxious to please God. In the book The Divine Poems, writer Helen Gardner supports this fact as she argues, "His Maker is more powerfully present to the imagination in his divine poems than any mistress is in his love poems" (Pg-2). Overall, it seems that both …show more content…

/ Wherein could this flea guilty be, / Except in that drop which it sucked from thee? / Yet thou triumph'st, and say'st that thou / Find'st not thy self, nor me the weaker now ("The Flea," L-19-24).
It seems that by killing the flea the mistress seems to further suggest the fact that she would murder anything or anyone that may be a threat to her virtuousness. However, after this event, the speaker seems to contradict his previous argument and forms a brand new one as he goes on to compare the loss of virginity to something as minor as the death of a flea. This is clear as poem ends with the speaker saying "Tis true, then learn how false, fears be; / Just so much honor, when thou yield'st to me / Will waste, as this flea's death took life from thee" ("The Flea, "L-25-27). In the poem "The Flea," the reader realizes that the speaker is concerned only with himself and does not seem to care about, or support his mistress's thoughts, feelings, as well as beliefs. Once again Helen Gardner argues that "His mind is naturally sceptical and curious, holding little sacred" (The Divine Poems, Pg-20). Hence, the reader recognizes that the speaker does not consider sex to be a special act and is completely self absorbed, as Gardner notices that "…he is only rarely tender and almost never