The Paradoxical Relationship

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Sylvia Plath’s poem “Daddy” emphasizes the ill-fated relationship between a woman and her deceased father. The speaker conveys her paradoxical feelings for the one man who she worshipped during her young years, but feared his malicious influence and domination after his death. “I used to pray to recover you” and “at twenty I tried to die… and get back… to you” ( line 14, 63-64). Throughout the poem, Plath uses simplistic language, rhyme, and rhythm in order to charm and delay the malevolent spirits from her father.
The poem begins with a childlike tone, misleading the reader on the upcoming subject matter. The first line echoes a nursery rhyme, feeling like a charm against some brooding curse. “You do not do, you do not do/ anymore black shoe” (lines 1-2). Metaphorically, the shoe is a trap, smothering the foot. The adjective “black” suggests the idea of death, thus it can relate to a coffin. The speaker feels a submissiveness and entrapment by her father. In an attempt to rid herself of the restriction in her own life, she must destroy the memory of her father. “Daddy, I have to kill you” (line 3). However, the description of the father as “marble-heavy” and “ghastly statue” reveals the ambivalence of her attitude, for he is also associated with the beauty of the sea. The speaker reacts with hate to her father who had made her suffer by dying at such a point in her development.
The tone becomes more realistic and has less admiration. There is an indication of WW2 in relation the holocaust as the speaker states “In the German tongue, in the polish town/ of wars, wars, wars “(line 16-18). This could mean that her father was involved in the holocaust, probably a powerful figure. The speaker then admits her fear of her fath...

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...ience the same situation has her father. When she tries to commit suicide she reconnects with the “bag” again, relating to the “a bag full of God”. It is very difficult for her to move on from her deceased father based on the matrimonial mistake. The speaker of the poem could have has Electra complex, which means the daughter is actually in love with the father through childhood. That assumption could relate to the hatred/ love relationship with her father. This then contributes to her inferiority and childish qualities that are emphasized throughout the poem. The tone changed frequently during the poem in order to repress the love for her father. The story is no longer the daughter’s attempt to reunite with and to marry the dead father; it is now the daughter’s wish to overthrow his dominance over her imagination and to “kill” him and the man who takes his place.
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