Sylvia Plath: Poems

Fuhrers and Fathers College

In her poem, “Daddy,” Sylvia Plath uses violent, unnerving, and controversial imagery to illustrate her tumultuous relationship with her father both before and after his death in 1940. Her work, and this poem in particular, is often distinguished due to the juxtaposition of disturbing metaphor with bouncy alliteration and child-like rhyme scheme. This and other contradictions found within the work depict the speaker’s lack of control and understanding about her relationships with men. Despite the undeniable feminist undertones of the piece, Plath lacks in tangible assertions about equality of the sexes; instead, “Daddy” acts more as a commentary on her struggles with patriarchy and emotional abuse. This idea is supported through the metaphor she creates of herself as a Holocaust victim and her father a Nazi soldier. The way Plath symbolizes Nazism in relation to her father transitions throughout the poem, from subtlety to blatancy, and eventually encompasses her relationships with both her father and her husband, Ted Hughes. While many critics discuss her World War II metaphors and allusions in regards to her personal relationships, this essay will discuss the way in which Nazi imagery in...

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