John Donne: Poems

The Significance of the Future 12th Grade

Metaphysical poets have been renowned for their exploration of the extremes of human experience- love and death- and such a fascination can be identified in Donne’s verse: the love poetry of the writer- ‘The Sun Rising’ and ‘The Flea’ concentrates wholly on a present situation in which the speaker desires sexual and romantic intimacy, and yet the religious sonnet ‘This is my play’s last scene’ contrarily focuses on an inevitable future in which the speaker will die; allowing Donne to focus on both the future, and the present in his verse.

Whilst ‘The Flea’ is centered around a near future in which the speaker hopes his lover will agree to have sex, the key concern of the poem is the present in which the speaker develops an intellectual argument aimed to convince an unwilling mistress to submit to his sexual passions. Such is demonstrated by the multiple imperatives used throughout the poem, signified by dynamic verbs such as ‘Mark’ and ‘stay’ used by the speaker to establish his intellectual superiority to his lover; which is reinforced by use of present tense placing ultimate focus on the speaker’s current argument. Whilst the regular AABBCCDDD might be read as anticipating a future in which the speaker and mistress are...

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