In this essay I will be comparing “Shall I Compare Thee…? “, and “The Flea”, by John Donne. These two poets both have the same ambition; they are trying to get a woman. Shakespeare is trying to earn the women’s love and respect, while Donne is just trying to get the women into bed. The main difference between these two poems is that “Shall I Compare Thee…? “, is a love poem and “The Flea”, is not. William Shakespeare wrote more than 150 sonnets, one of them being “Shall I Compare Thee…? “. This poem is very rhythmic giving it a sort of a love poem feeling.
This poem is rhythmic because it has a good Iambic Pentameter. Shakespeare compares the women to a “summers day”. The first line of the poem “shall I compare thee to a summers day” is a rhetorical question. This poem is split into four parts, in the first part Shakespeare is asking questions and answering them himself. In the second line he is starting to say, “Thou art more lovely and more temperate”, I think Shakespeare is saying in the first part really there is now comparison, she is too beautiful and wonderful.
Shakespeare used a lot better known loving imagery such as heaven, summers day, darling buds of may etc. But Donne uses strange images such as Flea, Sucks, murder, and death to complete his lighthearted objective to have sex with her. Shakespeare uses his imagery “a summers day” to describe the beautiful women, and Donne uses the flea as a guilt trip for the women saying that the flea has sucked your blood which is more than what I’ve done. Each poem has got an extended metaphor; in “The Flea” the Flea meaning love is it.
In “Shall I Compare Thee…? ” a summers day is the extended metaphor meaning the woman’s beauty. Donne defiantly uses more of an unpleasant way to get his point across. Death, Murder and flea aren’t the types of words you would expect to here if you wanted to get a woman into bed. “The Flea” is split up into three stanzas, the first two consists of reason why she should sleep with him and the third is the conclusion. Shakespeare tries to flatter the woman by telling her how lovely she is.
Donne doesn’t mention this he’s just thinking about himself and getting her into bed. Shakespeare thinks the beauty of this women will never stop showing even if she dies he shows this when he says “Nor loose possession of that fair thou ow’st”. “The Flea” uses a lot of words with a sexual and religious significance such suck’d, Sins, swells as in the sexual organs swelling, and temple. The words sucked and swells are again using a sexual influence on the women if she reads this poem.
Shakespeare ensures the lady by saying “eternall lines to time” which I think means that he will never leave her. Although both of these poems are about getting a woman I think they are totally different in the structure, the language used and how they put their point across. I think the poems show Shakespeare is the gentleman out of the two of them; he uses more of a kind and pleasant language. Donne uses the one word you wouldn’t expect in a poem to get a woman, that word is “Flea”.