The Theme of Death in Poetry by Emily Dickinson and Sylvia Plath Essay

The Theme of Death in Poetry by Emily Dickinson and Sylvia Plath Essay

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Death is a prevalent theme in the poetry of both Sylvia Plath and Emily Dickinson. They both examine death from varied angles. There are many similarities as well as differences in the representation of this theme in their poetry. Plath views death as a sinister and intimidating end, while Dickinson depicts death with the endearment of romantic attraction. In the poetry of Plath death is depicted traditionally, while Dickinson attributes some mysticism to the end of life.

In the poem "Two Views of a Cadaver Room" Plath attempts to be objective in writing about death from the third person point of view. The poem is divided into two verses: the first verse depicts four men examining human corpses, the second verse speaks about lovers who are not aware of the horrors of death. Using such format of talking about death, Plath created an alarming comparison. The first verse adopts the "attitude of reality compared to the ignorance in the second verse" ("only are blind to the carrion army"). Plath used the same technique in the poem "I Am Vertical" in which two verses both contrast and compliment each other.

For Dickinson, on the contrary, death is not something unreal. As the author has written "Because I could not stop for Death, he kindly stopped for me..." After reading these two lines the reader "imagines the picture of Death being a human which joins the author during the ride" . Dickinson tries to portray the characteristics of death in the poem. Stating that there is eternity after death, the author alludes both the possibility of the life after death and absolute zero-ness of it. Unlike Plath, Dickinson not only talks about the notion of death, but personalizes it. The reader feels that the author in fact...


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...ason, Dickinson does not view suicide as a way to meet with death or an escape, as it is seen in the poetry of Plath.

In conclusion, Plath is successful in the poetry because she managed to express certain things such as death in the variety of ways. She views death as being something horrible, a condition at which people are de-humanized and lack all th emotions and feelings. At the same time Plath connects death to life and makes an assumption that it is impossible to understand life without knowing that death exists. Dickinson, on the contrary, depicts death as something humans are both afraid of and at the same time are waiting for all their lives. Death in the poetry of Dickinson is not so horrible as in the writing of Plath. Dickinson views death as being a perfect condition when person gets freedom from all the troubles and can have eternal life.

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