Poetry commentary on Mirror by Sylvia Plath
Mirror by Sylvia Plath is a poem that deals with the unchanging and painful process of age and time which leads to people to try and change this by creating their own delusional world. Plath uses the technique of personification for the mirror. The poem is narrated from the point of a mirror. When Sylvia refers to the mirror as being not cruel and truthful, she means that what you see is not false, a mirror never lies since it can only show the truth. The poem is divided into 2 stanzas the first being the mirrors not so bright reflections and the second stanza in which the mirror has taken the embodiment of a lake and astral projections or spiritual ones in it. In the first stanza the mirror says that "I am silver and exact", "Whatever I see I swallow immediately / Just as it is". One of the interesting things here is that the mirror is admiring itself, praising itself, and reflecting itself. The mirror is its own mirror. The second stanza sees a change in the mirror. "I am now a lake". The differences between a lake and a mirror are important here. The lake is not "silver and exact" like a mirror but it has more depth. A woman bends over the lake and looks in. "Searching my reaches for what she really is." The mirror now becomes a symbol for the private, hidden self. The lake calls the candles and moon liars as they do not give enough light to give a true reflection. There is an curiosity about who the woman in the poem is; is it the poet, whose narrative is being made for her by her mirror - perhaps by her poem, which is also a mirror. “In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman rises towards her day after day, like a terrible fish.”This presents us with the image of the woman getting older and yet still searching for who she is. She is being lied to and she has been a victim of these lies. This final image suggests much insecurity. This terrible fish could represent both the inexorable approach of...
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