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The Violence of The Queen of Spades Essay

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The Violence of Plath’s Daddy  


"Daddy" is probably Plath’s most famous poem. The critic George Steiner has said that, "It is a poem by which future generations will seek to know us." He has also called it, "the Guernica of modern poetry." The violence of its imagery and tone, the references to concentration camps, torture and fascism certainly evoke Picasso’s most celebrated painting.

Plath claimed that in this poem she was adopting the persona of a girl with an Electra complex whose father had been a fascist, but while the poem is not completely autobiographical, it contains several obvious references to her own life. For example, here she refers to the picture of her father:

"You stand at the blackboard, daddy,
In the picture I have of you"

This is a direct image of the actual photograph the Plaths possessed of Otto in front of his blackboard at the University. Similarly, the "man in black with a Meinkampf look" and the "vampire" who "drank my blood" for "seven years" is a reference to her perception of Hughes to whom she had been married for seven years when t...


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