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Sylvia Plath - Lesbos

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INTRO Lesbos is a poem by Sylvia Plath written in 1962, after her divorce with her then husband Ted Hughes. The poem was written in response to her ex-husband's affair with Assia Wevill. Through the use of emotive language, metaphors and imagery, Sylvia Plath shows negative feelings towards the mistress and thereby portrays the mistress in a negative light. These devices, as well as portraying the mistress negatively, also show a contrast between Plath's home-life and the mistress' illicit relationship with Ted Hughes, Plath's then husband. FIRST ARGUMENT Sylvia Plath utilises emotive language in Lesbos in order to portray the mistress in a negative light and to display her hate of her. By portraying the mistress' life as hell, "The smog of cooking, the smog of hell Floats our heads, two venemous opposites," (Lines 35-36) Sylvia Plath intends to voice to the reader that the mistress' life is hell for Plath. By utilising a high modality word like "hell" Plath intends to insist that the mistress is a bad person. By using "venomous" to describe the difference between Plath and the mistress, Plath immediately implies that the mistress is dangerous and has a bad influence on anything she encounters. Furthermore, Plath utilises emotive language to portray the mistress as not having her priorities straight, thereby insisting that the mistress doesn't care about her children and only about Plath's husband, "I am packing the babies, I am packing the sick cats. ...read more.


Furthermore, by portraying the mistress as a "migraine", Plath wants to portray the mistress as a sickness and causing harm to people. Metaphors are also utilised to contrast Plath's and the mistress' life, "I am packing the hard potatoes like good clothes," (Line 68) By portraying her own life as practical by using words like "good", the metaphor of the practicality of potatoes emphasises Plath's opinion that her life is much better than the mistress', thereby debasing the mistress and portraying her in a negative light. By portraying the mistress as a non-human object, Plath further degrades the mistress, "Every day you fill him with soul-stuff, like a pitcher." (Line 76) furthermore, by saying that she is filling her husband with "soul stuff", Plath wishes to say that the mistress is essentially poisoning her husband's mind, and leading further astray from his normal life with her. By portraying the mistress as a "pitcher", Plath intends to remove her status of being human, which alludes to her portraying her as an animal. Furthermore, by portraying the mistress as a household item, Plath alludes to the home-life that she has and the illicit life that the mistress lead. Third Argument Sylvia Plath utilises imagery to portray the mistress in a negative light and thereby demeaning her. ...read more.


Furthermore, by suggesting that the mistress is "sucking" it implies that it is making Plath "exhausted" and that the illicit relationship is hurting her. "Sucking" is also combined with "blood-loving bat" to essentially portray the mistress as a blood-sucking bat, which is an allusion to Vampires and other fantasy creatures, which don't exist. By portraying the mistress as a Vampire, Plath essentially makes her unworthy of humanity, which therefore demeans the mistress and portrays her in a highly negative light. CONCLUSION In conclusion, the use of emotive languages, metaphors as well as imagery all contribute to Plath's intention of portraying the mistress in a highly negative light and emphasising her hate of her. Emotive language is mainly used in Lesbos to say that the mistress' life is not right and what she does is not right, in contrast to Plath's. Metaphors are used to degrade the mistress and give her inhumane characteristics; it is also used to portray the mistress as a prostitute. Lastly, imagery is vastly utilised in Lesbos to contrast the mistress' life of infidelity to Plath's life of taking care of children and doing motherly things, as well as giving the mistress inhumane characteristics and making her unworthy of humanity, which thereby insults and demeans her. All of these devices emphasise Sylvia Plath's hate of the mistress and essentially give's Plath a chance to voice her opinions regarding illicit relationship and extra-marital affairs. ...read more.

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