Freedom from Male Oppression in Sylvia Plath's Daddy

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Freedom from Male Oppression in Sylvia Plath's Daddy

Word Count includes Poem

Sylvia Plath?s poem "Daddy" describes her feelings of oppression from her childhood and conjures the struggle many women face in a male-dominated society. The conflict of this poem is male authority versus the right of a female to control her own life and be free of male domination. Plath?s conflicts begin with her father and continue into the relationship between her and her husband. This conflict is examined in lines 71-80 of "Daddy" in which Plath compares the damage her father caused to that of her husband.

The short stanzas containing powerful imagery overwhelm the readers forcing them to imagine the oppression that the speaker went through in her short life. The tone of this poem is that of an adult engulfed in outrage and who oftentimes slips into a childlike dialect; this is evident when the speaker continually uses the word "Daddy" and also repeats herself quite often. The last two stanzas of the poem, especially, portray a dismal picture of life for women who find themselves under a dominating male figure. The passage seems to show that the speaker has reached a resolution after being kept under a man?s thumb all her life.

In lines 71-80 the speaker compares her father and her husband to vampires saying how they betrayed her and drank her blood--sucking her dry of life. She tells her father to give up and be done, to lie back" (line 75) and in line 80, she says, "Daddy, daddy, you bastard,

Plath?s attitude towards men is expressed in this passage through her imagery of the villagers stamping and dancing on the dead vampire. The speaker says "If I?ve killed one man, I?ve killed two?" most likely meaning that all men are the ...

... middle of paper ... die

59 And get back, back, back to you

60 I thought even the bones would do.

61 But they pulled me out of the sack,

62 And they stuck me back together with glue.

63 And then I knew what to do.

64 I made a model of you,

65 A man in black with a Meinkampf look

66 And a love of the rack and the screw.

67 And I said I do, I do.

68 So daddy, I'm finally through.

69 The black telephone's off at the root,

70 The voices just can't worm through.

71 If I've killed one man, I've killed two?

72 The vampire who said he was you

73 And drank my blood for a year,

74 Seven years, if you want to know.

75 Daddy, you can lie back now.

76 There's a stake in your fat black heart

77 And the villagers never liked you.

78 They are dancing and stamping on you.

79 They always knew it was you.

80 Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I'm through.

12 October 1962


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