Mrs. Mandy Feasel
AP English III
11 May 2015
“Lady Lazarus:” Free to Die
“Lady Lazarus,” a poem widely known for its dark images and symbolism, captures the reader’s attention and entices him or her with a sense of familiarity with Lazarus; however, the comfortable feeling shatters as the reader takes a frightening journey through the life and deaths of Lady Lazarus. Sylvia Plath’s “Lady Lazarus” is semi- autobiographical in that through the pseudonym of Lady Lazarus, Plath uses her own personal issues and growing frustration with her oppressing father as the starting point to express her ideas on bigger issues such as the Holocaust, universal oppression, and the inhumanity of modern war. Lady Lazarus, the narrator, dies “one year in every ten,” (Plath 2) and Herr Doktor brings her back, however unwilling she may be, to an amused crowd; but this third time, she comes back and promises revenge on Herr Doktor, vowing to “eat men like air” (Plath 84).
On October 27, 1932, German immigrant Otto Emil Plath and American-born Aurelia Schober gave birth to their first and only daughter Sylvia Plath (Meyers 77). Plath grew up a relatively happy child in Winthrop, Massachusetts, during the Holocaust (“Sylvia Plath” 1). When she was eight, her father, a long time sufferer of diabetes, died from a pulmonary embolism. His refusals to seek medical attention during his “agonizing four-year illness” made Plath feel as if he had killed himself. She took the loss extremely hard, never fully getting over his death: at ten years old, she had already lost her faith in God and suffered a nervous breakdown (Meyers 77-78). Her father’s “infamous suicide” changed Plath in ways she could never express, though she often tried, and influe...
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...pression injures one’s sense of self and influences his or her through life and ultimately death.
Boswell, Matthew. “’Black Phones’: Postmodern Poetics in the Holocaust Poetry of Sylvia Plath.” Critical Survey 20.2 (2008): 53-64. Literary Reference Center. Web. 19 Apr. 2015.Meyers, Jeffery. “The German Plath.” New Criterion Nov. 2014:77-80. Academic Search Premier. Web. 17 Apr. 2015.
Heaton, David M. “Lady Lazarus.” Master plots II: Poetry Jan. 2002: 5pp. Literary Reference Center. Web. 19 Apr. 2015. “On ‘Lady Lazarus’” Sylvia Plath On “Modern American Poetry. Univ. of Illinois at Urbana. Web. 03 May 2015.
“On ‘Lady Lazarus,’” Sylvia Plath. Modern American Poetry. Univ. of Illinois at Urbana. Web. 03 May 2015.
Plath, Sylvia. “Lady Lazarus.” Collected Poems 1960. Web. 6 May 2015.
“Sylvia Plath.” Bio. A&E Television Networks, 2015. Web. 19 Apr. 2015.
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