Sylvia Plath: Poems

Putting A Stake Through His Persistent Memory, Plath’s Ends The Suffering of Losing a Parent in “Daddy” College

In her poem “Daddy”, Sylvia Plath speaks to her deceased father, explaining to him how his death caused her pain throughout her life and why she needs to “Kill” him. Sylvia Plath's father died when she was very young. In her poem she shows that as time passed his absence ate away at her. The pain that has built up is expressed through a dramatic and grotesque tone that distorts her description of her father toward the grotesque. For example she briefly describes her father as German before directly calling him a Nazi and a Fascist. Her distress is so great that her father’s hunting memory takes on a supernatural presence, as if he is a ghost that she needs to “kill”. In a sense, she means she has to remove him from her psyche, she can no longer think about him because all he does is cause her pain. Plath uses this sort of disturbing imagery and metaphor in “Daddy” to describe her distress and to explain why she needs to metaphorically kill him to reach peace.

Plath begins by likening her father to a god to describe how he is omniscient and all powerful over her. She describes him as colossus, a “Marble-heavy [statue]” (Plath 8). Given that Plath’s father died when she was very young we know that any interaction she had with...

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 725 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 4228 literature essays, 1406 sample college application essays, 171 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in