Sylvia Plath's Lady Lazarus

1282 Words6 Pages
Sylvia Plath, author of “Lady Lazarus”, is “widely considered one of the most emotionally evocative and compelling American poets of the postwar period” (“Plath, Sylvia: Introduction”). Plath was born in Boston, Massachusetts and her father died when she was eight. Plath attended Smith College and due to overwhelming conditions, she lapsed into a severe depression and overdosed on sleeping pills. After receiving psychiatric care, Plath enrolled in Newnham College where she met and married English poet Ted Hughes. Subsequent to Hughes affair and their divorce, Plath became progressively despondent and she committed suicide by inhaling gas from her kitchen stove (“Plath, Sylvia: Introduction”). American writer Sylvia Plath had many outstanding works including “Lady Lazarus”. This work illustrates Plath’s use of autobiographical influence, theme, and style, especially her use of imagery. “Lady Lazarus” is an “extraordinarily bitter dramatic monologue in twenty-eight tercets” (Heaton). A female Lazarus that takes pleasure in rising from the dead several times is the speaker of this poem. The narrator begins by saying, “I have done it again,” in reference to dying. She then proceeds to compare herself to a Holocaust victim and says that she has nine lives, similar to that of a cat. Plath writes that this is the third time she is dying and she describes the first two deaths, saying, “Dying / Is an art”. Plath then compares herself to a Holocaust victim again, being burned at a concentration camp. At the end, she seems to have gained some power through death and she is resurrected once again (Shmoop Editorial Team). “A complicated literary personality whose biography is nearly impossible to disentangle from her writing,” Sylvia Plath in... ... middle of paper ... ...on of: 'Lady Lazarus' by Sylvia Plath." LitFinder Contemporary Collection. Detroit: Gale, 2000. LitFinder for Schools. Web. 13 Mar. 2014. Dahlke, Laura Johnson. "Plath's Lady Lazarus." The Explicator 60.4 (2002): 234+.Literature Resource Center. Web. 10 Mar. 2014. Heaton, David M. "Lady Lazarus." Masterplots II: Poetry, Revised Edition (2002): 1-3. Literary Reference Center. Web. 10 Mar. 2014. "Overview: “Lady Lazarus”." Gale Online Encyclopedia. Detroit: Gale, 2014. Literature Resource Center. Web. 10 Mar. 2014. "Plath, Sylvia: Introduction." Feminism in Literature: A Gale Critical Companion. Ed. Jessica Bomarito and Jeffrey W. Hunter. Vol. 6: 20th Century, Authors (H-Z). Detroit: Gale, 2005. 293-295. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 13 Mar. 2014. Shmoop Editorial Team. "Lady Lazarus Summary."Shmoop.com. Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 30 Mar. 2014.
Open Document