The Struggle in Sylvia Plath's Lady Lazarus

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The Struggle in Lady Lazarus

Lady Lazarus repeats the struggle between Nazi and Jew which is used in Daddy, with the Nazi atrocities a background across which the amazing, self-renewing speaker strides. The speaker orchestrates every aspect of her show, attempting to undermine the power an audience would normally have over her. She controls her body, instead of being a passive object of other eyes.

The speaker orders her enemy to Peel off the napkin, telling the audience that there is a charge for her performance, but death to her is nothing but a big strip tease. Do I terrify? she asks rhetorically, she knows her effect on them. Lady Lazarus intentionally contributes to the spectacle that fetishises her; she compartmentalises herself, These are my hands, / My knees, harshly mocking the gentlemen and ladies as she reveals their morbid avidity. She is both pitying and scornful: Do not think I underestimate your great concern. Her disenfleshment at the hands of the enemy, viewed avidly by the peanut-crunching crowd, is something that she wills, just as ...
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