Women's Fight Against Social Convention in Sylvia Plath's Poem, Ariel Essay

Women's Fight Against Social Convention in Sylvia Plath's Poem, Ariel Essay

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Women's Fight Against Social Convention in Sylvia Plath's Poem, Ariel


"Ariel" is the title poem from Sylvia Plath's controversial collection of poetry written during the last few months of her life in 1963. The traditional gender roles of 1960s America promoted a double-standard and wrongly imposed upon women the idea of a "Happy Housewife Heroine" who cherished "the receptivity and passivity implicit in (her) nature" and was "devoted to (her) own beauty and (her) ability to bear and nurture children" (Friedan, 59). Plath comments on the devastating effects of social convention on individuality, but she realizes that both sexes are affected by society's oppression of its members. She contemplates this theme throughout Ariel, especially in the "The Applicant," a critique of the emptiness of the stereotypical roles of men and women at the time.

In Shakespeare's The Tempest, Ariel is a good spirit who is enslaved by Prospero and is constantly striving for freedom. This struggle is comparable to that of American women for recognition and respect in the 1960s. "Ariel" illustrates ...

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