Essay on An Analysis of Sylvia Plath's Poem, Daddy

Essay on An Analysis of Sylvia Plath's Poem, Daddy

Length: 796 words (2.3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

An Analysis of Sylvia Plath's Poem, Daddy


Sylvia Plath's famous poem "Daddy" seems to refer quite consistently to her deceased father (and obliquely to her then estranged husband Ted Hughes) by use of many references that can clearly be associated with the background of Otto Plath, emphasizing his German heritage. These include the "Polish town" where Otto was born, the atrocities of the German Nazis in the Second World War ("Dachau, Auschwitz, Belsen"), the "Luftwaffe," and even the professorial pose of Dr. Plath "at the blackboard . . . / In the picture I have of you."

Yet in the midst of these references to Otto Plath's specifically German origins, lines at the beginning of stanza eight mention distinctly Austrian details: "The snows of the Tyrol, the clear beer of Vienna / Are not very pure or true" (lines 36-37). The two nations, Germany and Austria, share a common language, but they are--and have been--two very distinct countries. Otto Plath seems to have had no personal connection with Austria in his life, and the relevance of these lines to Plath's father seems obscure, especially as they are not further elaborated upon in the poem.

Two explanations for the presence of these intrusive lines, I believe, can be offered. First, in keeping with the repeated Nazi references in the poem, they might be Plath's very oblique reminder that even though the Nazis are universally associated with the Germans, AdoIf Hitler himself was born and raised in Austria, and during the Second World War many Austrians participated in the Nazi military effort (as the recent controversy over former UN Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim made dear). However, as applied to Hitler, these references are both vague and inaccurate (Hitler was bo...


... middle of paper ...


...ide perhaps harboring negative and destructive feelings. Whether or not this was true, it could have provided Plath with a basis for her comments on the Austrian images.

The depth and ubiquity of Plath's hostility to her mother suggest that it could surface elsewhere than in poems overtly concerned with it, such as the ones mentioned above. If indeed it is present in "Daddy," as I suggest, the intrusive Austrian references serve not only to make more comprehensive the poet's wrath but also remind us that although Plath's grief at the death of her father provides the emotional force of much of her work, her constant, suppressed rage at her all-too-alive mother plays a major role in it as well.


WORKS CITED

Plath, Sylvia. "Daddy." Collected Poems. London: Faber, 1981. 222-24.
Wagner-Martin, Linda. Sylvia Plath: A Biography. New York: St. Martin, 1988.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on An Analysis of Sylvia Plath's Poem, Daddy

- An Analysis of Sylvia Plath's Poem, Daddy Sylvia Plath's famous poem "Daddy" seems to refer quite consistently to her deceased father (and obliquely to her then estranged husband Ted Hughes) by use of many references that can clearly be associated with the background of Otto Plath, emphasizing his German heritage. These include the "Polish town" where Otto was born, the atrocities of the German Nazis in the Second World War ("Dachau, Auschwitz, Belsen"), the "Luftwaffe," and even the professorial pose of Dr....   [tags: Sylvia Plath Daddy Essays]

Better Essays
796 words (2.3 pages)

Analysis Of Sylvia Plath 's Poem, Daddy, Lady Lazarus And Ariel Essay

- Controversy surrounding Sylvia Plath and her collection Ariel is still present in today’s society. The collection is written using personal stories in a confessional tone that makes it impossible for the reader to remove Sylvia Plath’s life from the poems. The interpretation of the poems filters directly into Plath’s life with memories of her father, husband, children and her struggles with mental health. The collection is controversial because Plath committed suicide and the depression and grotesqueness of her inner self is present in many of her poems; especially her later collection....   [tags: Sylvia Plath, Suicide, Confessional poetry]

Better Essays
2075 words (5.9 pages)

Sylvia Plath's Poem Daddy Essay

- Sylvia Plath's Poem Daddy Plath expressed a feminist point of view in her poems, She was not a very radical feminist, but she did show her rage against men in her works. In "Daddy", Plath expresses her feelings about her family, and the prominent male figures in her life: Sylvia Plath's father Otto Emil Plath, and her husband Ted Hughes. The title itself sounds feminine. This poem is divided into two parts. The first part, which lasts from the first to the ninth stanza, is a brief memorandum of Plath's father, and her gradual acceptance of his death....   [tags: Papers]

Better Essays
1541 words (4.4 pages)

Essay on A Women's Relationship With Men in The Poem Daddy by Sylvia Plath

- Sylvia Plath has brought the attention of many Women’s studies supporters while being recognized as a great American poet. Most of her attention has come as a result of her tragic suicide at age thirty, but many of her poems reflect actual events throughout her life, transformed into psychoanalytical readings. One of Plath’s most renowned poems is “Daddy”. In this poem there are ideas about a woman’s relationship with men, a possible insight on aspects of Plath’s life, and possible influences from the theories of Sigmund Freud....   [tags: women's studies, feminism, gender critics]

Better Essays
1014 words (2.9 pages)

`` Daddy `` By Sylvia Plath Essay

- Sylvia Plath was born in Boston, Massachusetts on October 27th, 1932. She attended Smith College with a scholarship in 1950 and was married to Ted Hughes. Plath was a gifted and troubled poet, known for the style of her work. On October 12th, 1962 Plath wrote a very unique poem called “Daddy” that was then published in 1965. “Daddy” is perhaps Sylvia Plath’s best-known poem that she has written. Through the use of violet imagery, figurative language and descriptive metaphors, Plath conveys the speaker’s journey of coming to terms with her father who died when she was eight years old....   [tags: Sylvia Plath, Poetry, Ted Hughes, Daddy]

Better Essays
733 words (2.1 pages)

Essay on Analysis Of Sylvia Plath 's ' Daddy '

- Sylvia Plath’s poem “Daddy” is debated as form of self-therapy or as just an artist who is remarkable at calling up the emotions of her personas and characters. In addition to this quandary, is the examination of the persona herself and matching her actions to the Freudianism theory of Family and Jung’s theory of Electra. Digging into the overall question of Sylvia Plath’s poem “Daddy” is, what is the greater message in Sylvia Plath’s poem. Does even the author understand what the larger question of her psyche through an in-depth analysis of her poem could mean for her self-development....   [tags: Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Sylvia Plath, Daddy]

Better Essays
1700 words (4.9 pages)

Analysis Of ' Daddy ' By Sylvia Plath Essay

- Sylvia Plath’s jarring poem ‘Daddy’, is not only the exploration of her bitter and tumultuous relationship with her father, husband and perhaps the male species in general but is also a strong expression of resentment against the oppression of women by men and the violence and tyranny men can and have been held accountable for. Within the piece, the speaker creates a figurative image of her father by using metaphors to describe her relationship with him: “Not God but a Swastika” , he is a “… brute” , even likening him to leader of the Nazi Party; Adolf Hitler: “A man in black with a Meinkampf look .” Overall, the text is a telling recount of her hatred towards her father and her husband of “...   [tags: Poetry, Love, Rhyme, Sylvia Plath]

Better Essays
949 words (2.7 pages)

Essay on Preparing for Death in Sylvia Plath's Daddy

- Preparing for Death in Plath’s Daddy   Throughout the poem "Daddy" by Sylvia Plath, the author struggles to escape the memory of her father who died when she was only ten years old. She also expresses anger at her husband, Ted Hughes, who abandoned her for another woman. The confessional poem begins with a series of metaphors about Plath's father which progress from godlike to demonic. Near the end, a new metaphor emerges, when the author realizes that her estranged husband is actually the vampire of her dead father, sent to torture her....   [tags: Sylvia Plath Daddy]

Better Essays
1420 words (4.1 pages)

Essay on Freedom from Male Oppression in Sylvia Plath's Daddy

- Freedom from Male Oppression in Sylvia Plath's Daddy Word Count includes Poem    Sylvia Plath?s poem "Daddy" describes her feelings of oppression from her childhood and conjures the struggle many women face in a male-dominated society. The conflict of this poem is male authority versus the right of a female to control her own life and be free of male domination. Plath?s conflicts begin with her father and continue into the relationship between her and her husband. This conflict is examined in lines 71-80 of "Daddy" in which Plath compares the damage her father caused to that of her husband....   [tags: Plath Daddy Essays Poetry Sylvia]

Better Essays
1202 words (3.4 pages)

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

- 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....   [tags: Sylvia Plath Lady Lazarus Daddy Comparison]

Better Essays
1439 words (4.1 pages)