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The Persuasive Tone of The Flea

The Persuasive Tone of The Flea

John Donne, a member of metaphysical school in the Seventeenth century, exhibited his brilliant talent in poetry. In “The Flea,” he showed the passion to his mistress via persuasive attitude. The tone might straightforwardly create playfulness or sinfulness; yet, the poem contains none of either. What impress readers most is situation and device. The situation between the speaker and the audience is persuasion, love or marriage. As to device, the notable parts are diction and rhetoric skills. Furthermore, unique characteristics of this poem are also an important element of his persuasive tone.

First of all, the situation created by Donne is remarkable. Although there is only one speaker in “The Flea,” the poem itself reveals a profound interaction between speaker and audience. Here is an example: “Mark but this flea, and mark in this,” (line 1) and “Oh stay, three lives in one flea spare,” (line 10). In line one, the poet asked his coy mistress to notice a flea and explain that the flea symbolized the combination of their love. Whereas, when the poem goes on to the first line of the second stanza, the lady ignores Donne’s enthusiasm by intending to slay the flea. From the two lines, it shows the female’s emotional reaction to Donne’s persuasion, which provokes his urge by applying poetic device in the poem.

One of Donne’s famous poetic devices is diction. Again in line one and ten appear “Mark” and “Oh stay.” These words are denotations of strong causative voice in order to obtain mistress’ attention. In addition to diction, another outstanding part is his rhetoric skill. For example, “Me it sucked first, and now sucks thee,” (line 3). His using different …

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…86) 93.

iv[iv] Helen Gandner, ed., John Donne: A Collection of Critical Essays. (Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall, 1962) 47.

Works Cited

Dyson, A. E.. Donne: Songs and Sonnets. Houndmills: Macmillan Education, 1973.

Gandner, Helen, ed. John Donne: A Collection of Critical Essays. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall, 1962.

Larson, Deborah Aldrich. John Donne and Twentieth Century Criticism. Cranbury: Associated University Press, 1989.

Marotti, Arthur F.. John Donne: Coterie Poet. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1986.

Novarr, David. The Disinterred Muse: Donne¡¦s Texts and Contexts. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1980.

Nutt, Joe. John Donne: The Poems. London: Macmillan Press, 1999.

Witherspoon Alexander M., and Warnke Frank J., ed.. Seventeenth Century Prose and Poetry. New York: Harcourt, Brace

Mercy in The Wind by Stephens and Eight O’Clock by Housman

Mercy in The Wind by Stephens and Eight O’Clock by Housman

Does humankind have the same characteristics as nature, or does it merely possess a small portion of nature’s greatness? Nature and humankind can be cruel in their own ways; however, humankind feels guilt for its actions, while nature does not. Both may appear beautiful at times, but nature and humankind can become fierce destroyers when put in certain situations. Humans often feel guilty for their actions and become merciful, while nature, on the other hand, has no mercy.

The distribution of death upon the human race has and always will be a big issue. The merciless effects of nature have only been temporarily blocked or prevented by humankind, but never overpowered. Nature is a strong force that constantly treads the earth, and even the strongest and most intelligent species of mortals cannot conquer its forces. Nature has no mercy in its doings because it is a force without feeling. Humankind, on the other hand, becomes compassionate and merciful when put in certain situations. Some may call this mercy a weakness, but in reality the mercy that humans possess can also become a strength. To bear mercy, the human race can make important decisions and plan for the consequences to follow. The poems that are chosen for this essay are “The Wind” by James Stephens and Eight O’Clock by A. E. Housman. Both demonstrate the manner in which nature and humans deal with the cruel penalties of death and how they are distributed.

“The Wind” by James Stephens is a remarkable poem that demonstrates the power and authority of the wind. The wind is personified as a man, and is given human attributes for better understanding. The life flows into the individual as he stands up…

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…isplay no mercy, but in most cases the guilt is retained or dispersed in some inanimate object that will quietly take the blame. Humankind and nature differ in many aspects, and mercy is one of them. Nature shows no mercy.

“The Wind” by James Stephens

The wind stood up and gave a shout.

He whistled on his fingers and

Kicked the withered leaves about

And thumped the branches with his hand

And said that he’d kill and kill,

And so he will and so he will.

“Eight O’Clock” by A. E. Housman

He stood, and heard the steeple

Sprinkle the quarters on the morning town.

One, two, three, four, to market-place and people

It tossed them down.

Strapped, noosed, nighing his hour,

He stood and counted them and cursed his luck;

And then the clock collected in the tower

Its strength, and struck.

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