Sylvia Plath’s “Daddy” is a poem that takes the reader through Plath’s life with an oppressive father. Through detailed, five-line stanzas she gives examples to compare her life to that of a Jew or to the lady that lived in a shoe. Plath uses visual imagery of a Nazi, in particular, Adolf Hitler to describe her father’s oppressive ways. The poem gives off a very weary perception of Plath fighting emotionally to get away from the life of silence and abuse. Moving deeper through Plath’s poem, she depicts an even more conflicted scenario of her wanting to get back to him. Because of her longing for her father, she is drawn into other abusive relationships. All around though, Sylvia Plath is trying to convey the truth behind being trapped in a confined world, by comparing her experiences to Nazi Germany and the Jews. Not only is she attempting to depict her own internal struggle, but she is also trying to shed light on oppressive relationship in general. The poem’s dark imagery, allusions to Nazi Germany and concentration camps, along with paradoxes create imagery that represents Plath’s imprisonment as a result of her father’s dictatorial control over Plath and her desire to be free of such oppression.
In the beginning, Plath immediately uses visual imagery to describe feeling trapped. She states, “You do not do, you do not do/Any more, black shoe/In which I have lived like a foot…” (2-3), On the surface, this is an allusion to the lady who lived with many children in a shoe, which evokes a sense of smothering. Looking deeper Plath is using the specific image of herself as a foot inside of an oppressive, black shoe. Furthermore, sturdy shoes are often used to represent authority meaning that Plath was oppressed by an authoritative figure. This dark imagery strongly relates to allusions to Nazi Germany later in poem. In the next stanza of the poem it becomes clear who Plath is oppressed by, when she says, “Daddy, I have had to kill/You died before I had...
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