Poetry Comparison: Sylvia Plath
‘Daddy’, a poem written by Sylvia Plath, was written just four months before her suicide and describes a girl’s rough relationship with her father. Some believe that the poem might also be a reference to her husband, Ted Hughes, who she also had a very up-and-down relationship with. The poem attracted some rage from critics on account of its use of the Holocaust as a metaphor for the father-daughter relationship described. There is enough material from Plath’s life to compare even though she committed suicide at the age of 30. Another famous poem of hers, ‘Lady Lazarus’, uses the Holocaust as a metaphor of oppression. This theme probably connected with Plath because she was a first-generation immigrant with an Austrian mother and German father who were both alive during World War II. ‘Daddy’ alludes not only to Plath’s troubled relationship with her father before his death, but also the crisis of faith she suffered after he passed away. Lines like “marble-heavy, a bag full of god” and “I used to pray to recover you; ach, du,” make it seem like that the death of her father turned her away from religion. In ‘Lady Lazarus” however, Plath describes her struggle with life and her view of suicide as being a beautiful thing with the use of many different supernatural metaphors. After a long monologue describing the oppression and abuse she feels she is suffering in life and uses a Nazi-Jew metaphor as the main idea, the poem ends with the narrator being killed via incineration. Although Plath has the main character in the poem reborn as possibly a phoenix, or some other sort of mythological creature, the metaphor, is shows her positive feelings towards death and its restorative properties hint at some kind of faith, and the poem ends sweetly and triumphantly. This is almost opposite of the feeling in ‘Daddy’. Though ‘Lady Lazarus’ describes Plath’s frustrating relationship with living in general, ‘Daddy’ is seemingly aimed at two...
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