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Written in 1956, The Shrike offers readers an insight into Plaths thoughts on her marriage to Hughes

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Introduction

Breaking Bad The year 1956 had its fair share of joys and shortcomings for Sylvia Plath. It was the year she married Ted Hughes and it was the year she became aware of the pressure of the social obligations she had to comply with both in her artistic and domestic lives. Starting from Hughes? success to Plath?s loss of inspiration, 1956 proved to be a critical moment during Plath?s lifetime. It was in this year that her self-conflicted identity was challenged, and brought in to capitulate to societal pressure and expectations. It was also in this year that her skills as a poet were questioned and contrasted against those of her husband. Despite all these factors affecting Plath?s perceptions, Plath always held Hughes? with regal regard, and it is this regal regard that can be seen in ?The Shrike? and ?Stings?, and it is that same high regard, along with societal demands and ideals, that prevented her from fully expressing herself to her husband, but Plath used her poetry, especially her last poem ?Edge?, as her scapegoat and expressed her every emotion and opinion of significant moments of her life in her writing, until the pressures proved to be too much and she surrendered to the one thing she knew best; death. ...read more.

Middle

During this year Plath suffered some artistic difficulties and found writing poetry challenging as she was running dry on inspiration, unlike her husband Hughes who was at the height of his career and that in turn overshadowed Plath?s poetic greatness and that, together with societal demands for her to be a wife first to Hughes then a writer, made Plath feel oppressed. Overall, after taking into consideration all these personal influences, motifs, symbols, and the structure of the poem- it being a 24-line enjambment- the tone created by this poem is very passive and weak, unlike ?Stings?. ?Stings? was written the year Plath discovered Hughes was having an affair, Plath couldn?t address Hughes and confront him with the discovery directly (subordinates don?t speak to rulers in that kind of manner not only out of respect but also out of love) but she could through her poetry. This poem specifically highlights Plath?s resentment towards men in her domestic life and her relationship with Hughes as she uses: ?He and I? (5), diction is also used here as the usage of these two pronouns instead of ?we? creates a sense of distance between the speaker and the beekeeper. ...read more.

Conclusion

to paint vivid imagery are combined together in her transfixing last poem, ?Edge?. Written 6 days before her death, ?Edge? serves as Plath?s resignation letter from this world and all the duties she is obliged to fulfill both artistic and domestic. Using Greek mythology, Plath illustrates an image of woman lying dead, on the ?Edge? of life and death, prepared to move on to the next part of her journey after having accomplished all her goals whilst she was alive this is shown by the line: ?We have come so far, it is over.? (8). The tone that comes off from this poem is very serene and tranquil because of diction such as: ?The woman is perfected/Her dead/Body wears the smile of accomplishment,? (1-3). This shows that Plath had finally surrendered to her destiny and embraced it with the ?smile of accomplishment?, regardless of how she chose to end her life- because in Greek mythology, suicide is considered as an honorable choice and only a natural part of the cycle of life. One could suggest that Plath was trying to justify her suicide so she wouldn?t lose the sense of accomplishment and fulfillment she had and that if she had lost that feeling, Greek mythology would?ve served as a reminder to her that she had made an honorable decision. ...read more.

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