Essay on Imagery In Poems "Daddy" And "Lady Lazarus" By Sylvia Plath

Essay on Imagery In Poems "Daddy" And "Lady Lazarus" By Sylvia Plath

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In poems of Sylvia Plath, entitled "Lady Lazarus" and "Daddy" some elements are similar, including used hostile imagery, gloomy atmosphere as well as recurring theme of suicide, but the poems differ in respect of the speaker’s point of view and attitude towards addressed person or unfavorable surroundings. These elements are employed by Plath in order to intensify the impact on her audience and convey all extreme emotions. Another issue that is considered to be worthy of thinking over is the question why the poet refers to Holocaust and the suffering of the Jews in Nazi concentration camps.
First of all, it should be decided who is the speaker in poem "Daddy". This issue as well as the controversial use of Holocaust imagery by Sylvia Plath may be resolved with quoting here her own words, which explain who the speaker is :
The poem is spoken by a girl with an Electra complex. Her father died while she thought he was God. Her case is complicated by the fact that her father was also a Nazi and her mother very possibly part Jewish. In the daughter the two strains marry and paralyze each other—she has to act out the awful little allegory once before she is free of it.
The daughter “Barely daring to breathe or Achoo” (5) addresses the memory of the father with increasing rage which contribute to impression that the poem is out of control. The poem begins with a series of images about father/ oppressor which progress from godlike: “Marble-heavy, a big full of God, / Ghastly statue with one gray toe / Big as Frisco seal” (8-10) to demonic. Although expressions, such as “swastika” (46), “brute” (49), “the rack” (66) indicate victimization, the poem is also about longing and love. In place of what is really frightening, that is a...


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Dickie, Margaret. 1979 Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes. Urbana: the University of Illinois Press. [http://www.usm.maine.edu/~jkuenz/391/lazarus.htm, accessed 6 May 2007]

Kirszner, Laurie and Mandell Stephen. 2004. Literature: Reading, Reacting, Writing. London, New York: Thomson & Heine.

Oberg, Arthur. 1978. Modem American Lyric: Lowell, Berryman, Creeley,-and Plath. Rutgers University Press. [http://www.usm.maine.edu/~jkuenz/391/lazarus.htm, accessed 6 May 2007]

Orr, Peter, ed. 1966. The Poet Speaks. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. [http://www.sylviaplath.de/plath/orrinterview.html, accessed 6 May 200]

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