Dualities in Sylvia Plath's Bee Sequences

Topics: Alastair Campbell, Stanza, Poetry Pages: 3 (1142 words) Published: October 8, 2013

Queen or Victim, the Duality of Female Authority and Oppression. Plath’s first poem in her venerable bee sequence, The Bee Meeting, offers fertile insight into the speaker of the poem’s struggle to adopt a voice in society and begs the ultimate question about women’s capacity to successfully break the chains of conformity. Plath’s multi-pronged approach addresses the poem’s persona’s confrontation with many social dichotomies. The most basic example of this duality is the fact that the speaker can’t distinguish between the surreal and the real. The first three stanzas begin with haunting rhetorical questions that leave her feeling “naked” and confused. Then, there are bizarre sequences in the poem like the “scarlet flowers” she mistakes as “blood clots” and the “apparition” of “surgeons and butchers,” representing the social limitations she endures in the attempt to release her internalized emotions. Her incapacity to discern what is real is a powerful metaphor that she exhibits throughout the piece and is analogous to the duality of power and impotence in her attempt to find autonomy. The poem’s pace grows more ominous in the central stanzas as she admits “I cannot run” as “smoke rolls” and “villagers” “hunting the queen,” adding a mystic horror the persona endures. She feels paranoid and caught between her imaginative voice and incapacity to express it. Ultimately, the persona in the poem struggles to identify herself as a bee in the hive and is left estranged by the duality of autonomy and powerlessness as shown through the metaphoric irony of the power of the female bee in contrast to the patriarchal reality of human society, even of the simplest kind (a village). The speaker’s impotence is twofold: she does not know how to shape autonomy within the community and feels dumbfounded by her inability to control her imagination and distinguish between humans and insects. Early in the poem she transforms herself into “milkweed silk” in order for the other...
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Analysis of Sylvia Plath's Mirror Essay
  • Sylvia Plath's "Daddy" Essay
  • Analysis of Sylvia Plath's Colossus Essay
  • Sylvia Plath's Metaphor Essay Example
  • Essay on The Implications of Plath's "Arrival of the Bee Box"
  • An Explication of Sylvia Plath's "Lady Lazarus" Essay
  • Literary Explication: Sylvia Plath's "Daddy" Essay
  • Sylvia Plath's Daddy

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free