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Sylvia Plath,

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Introduction

A commentary of "Daddy" by Sylvia Plath "Daddy", one of Plaths most famous and detailed autobiographical poems, was written in the last years of her life and is saturated with suppressed anger and dark imagery. The sixteen stanza poem, through Plaths use of ambiguous symbolism, arguably is bitterly addressing Plaths father, who died when she was only eight, and her husband Ted Hughes, who had broken her "pretty red heart in two" (st.12, line 1). The poem is intense with once suppressed emotion, setting an aggressive, desperate, almost psychic tone and is highly concentrated on the theme of death. With Plath's application of various techniques including diction, imagery, enjambment, contrast, repetition and oxymoron, the poem comes across as shocking with the intensity of feeling and the passionate sadness that highlight the suicidal messages conveyed. As is pointed out, the context of the poem "Daddy" is that of Plath's husband's affair with another woman. Grieved to the point of psychotic anger Plath's use of imagery throughout the piece accentuates the hopeless despair of the speaker at the conflicting male relationships in Plath's life: first her father and then husband. "Any more, black shoe In which I have lived like a foot..." The metaphor of 'black shoe' possibly used to denote a person, suggests a stifling image. ...read more.

Middle

The recurring image of black is again mentioned, a repetition of which suggests the dim, destructive confusion in the speakers mind and the devilish image of her husband and of her father that she has envisioned. More so, black suggests one cannot see and this could connote to the speaker's unclear memory of daddy, as well as the overall ambiguity concerning which man the speaker is actually addressing. The enjambment here speeds up the rhythm, everything is to be said in one breath and it can be connoted to the idea of these words being the speakers actual 'last breath'. Furthermore, the enjambment creates a constant link between the lines and the stanzas: they seem to flow into each other. This can be interpreted as the speakers making a link between her and the two men she is accusing and is hurt by: there is a connection between them two and perhaps the speaker is confused, which one she is in fact addressing. There is a blend of the two males into one demon-like illusion Plath repetitively refers to. This demon-like envisagement is contrasted to the image of God, again depicting confusion and conflict which seem to be prevalent in the speaker's message. Plath employs various contrasting images and words effectively to accentuate the speaker's blur of emotion. ...read more.

Conclusion

The final contrast of daddy and 'bastard' as the speakers final conclusion, she is now exhausted and giving up. This contrast again brings to light the destructive conflict in the speakers mind, that of loving and hating her addressee simultaneously. Therefore, 'Daddy' is perceptibly a highly emotional poem, full of suppresses anger and intense despair. The speaker, arguably Plath herself, addresses two men in her life that broke her heart and expresses the accumulating anger and pain that are confused in her mind. The theme of memory is brought up in the child-like language, the vague images of the speaker's father. She then goes on through use of imagery to connote her situation to persecution of the Jews, which appears relevant when we find out about her fathers German roots. Through repletion of black Plath accentuates the darkest emotions inside her and a hollow feeling which then links to inevitable death. The contrasts made imply a the confusion in the speaker's mind; the inability to deal with the pain and anger on her own and hence the 'I'm through' points to a giving up, a suicidal intention. The poem arguably points to a problem of male domination in Plath's life, her father's image and her husband's real self, leaving her in conflict with an illusion. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

4 star(s)

Good features of this essay are its sensitive awareness of mood and how metaphor is used to create it, and how various poetic devices are employed to achieve effects.
However, some (admittedly difficult) parts of the poem are simply ignored, so there is an inadequate sense of how the poem develops, and where quotation is used it is sometimes not accurate.
****

Marked by teacher Val Shore 30/11/2013

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