Freedom From Male Oppression In Sylvia Plath's Daddy

1128 words - 5 pages

Freedom from Male Oppression in Sylvia Plath's Daddy
Word Count includes Poem   

Sylvia Plath?s poem "Daddy" describes her feelings of oppression from her childhood and conjures the struggle many women face in a male-dominated society. The conflict of this poem is male authority versus the right of a female to control her own life and be free of male domination. Plath?s conflicts begin with her father and continue into the relationship between her and her husband. This conflict is examined in lines 71-80 of "Daddy" in which Plath compares the damage her father caused to that of her husband.

The short stanzas containing powerful imagery overwhelm the readers forcing them to imagine the oppression that the speaker went through in her short life. The tone of this poem is that of an adult engulfed in outrage and who oftentimes slips into a childlike dialect; this is evident when the speaker continually uses the word "Daddy" and also repeats herself quite often. The last two stanzas of the poem, especially, portray a dismal picture of life for women who find themselves under a dominating male figure. The passage seems to show that the speaker has reached a resolution after being kept under a man?s thumb all her life.

In lines 71-80 the speaker compares her father and her husband to vampires saying how they betrayed her and drank her blood--sucking her dry of life. She tells her father to give up and be done, to lie back" (line 75) and in line 80, she says, "Daddy, daddy, you bastard,

Plath?s attitude towards men is expressed in this passage through her imagery of the villagers stamping and dancing on the dead vampire. The speaker says "If I?ve killed one man, I?ve killed two?" most likely meaning that all men are the same and ridding the world of one is equivalent to ridding the world of both.

She is also killing off the mature childish ideas of her father being her husband (Electra complex), and ridding herself of those feelings. In line 72, "The vampire who said he was you / and drank my blood for a year / seven years, if you want to know" describes her husband and the ability of male power to strip a woman of her sense of self. (Plath was married to her husband for seven years during which he had an affair with another woman.) He has drained her by drinking her blood, or figuratively sucking the life out of her. In line 75, Plath states, "Daddy, you can lie back now," as if to say the damage is done. "There?s a stake in your fat black heart and the villagers never liked you," is relevant to the image of vampires because stabbing them with a stake to the heart is the only way they die.

The villagers can be thought of as another persona for Plath who has gotten over her resentment of her father and now has just decided to forget about him. "They [the villagers] are dancing and stamping on you. / They always knew it was you," is almost ambiguous because it is not clear whether Plath is directing this to her husband or her...

Find Another Essay On Freedom from Male Oppression in Sylvia Plath's Daddy

Analysis of Sylvia Plath's poem "daddy"

737 words - 3 pages have always been scared of you" (line 41). The significance of the word "you" being in italics lies in the fact that the meaning of the word has shifted, from her father to her husband, Ted Hughes, the man she tried to replace her daddy with, the previously mentioned "model." Unfortunately, this attempt to deal with her father's death backfired when it turned out that Hughes was, in Plath's eyes, an authoritative figure that Plath repeatedly

How Sylvia Plath's Life is Reflected in the Poems Daddy, Morning Song, and Lady Lazarus

3389 words - 14 pages How Sylvia Plath's Life is Reflected in the Poems Daddy, Morning Song, and Lady Lazarus Sylvia Plath has had an "exciting" life, if I can use this word. Her father died from an undiagnosed diabetes when she was eight. At the same time, a short couplet that she wrote was published in the Boston Sunday Herald. Later, she won scholarships to study in Smith, Harvard, and finally Cambridge. There, Plath married Ted Hughes, who

A comparison between Sylvia Plath's "Daddy" "Ariel" and "Lady Lazerus"

1406 words - 6 pages Plath's poetry has many distinguishing features that portray the issue of power within the area of gender relations. She has a satirical approach that can be readily seen in poems such as Daddy and Lady Lazarus which are also two poems that are quite confrontational and emotional, they deal with the liberation of one-self through transformation throughout the poems. Ariel focuses more on self-empowerment and freedom, regardless of the

The Struggle in Sylvia Plath's Lady Lazarus

704 words - 3 pages Barbara Hardy notes, The personal presence in the poetry, though dynamic and shifting, makes itself felt in a full and large sense, in feeling, thinking, and language. (from Enlargement or Derangement? Ariel Ascending: Writings About Sylvia Plath, Paul Alexander, ed. (New York: Harper and Row Publishers, 1985)) Like Lady Lazarus who co-ordinates her own performance, Plath is also in control, fully aware of the different perceptions her poetry

Metaphors Analysis in Sylvia Plath's Poem

958 words - 4 pages Metaphors Analysis in Sylvia Plath's Poem In Sylvia Plath’s poem, Metaphors, she uses striking imagery to explore her ambivalent attitudes about pregnancy. For example, she uses a negative metaphor saying she is an elephant, meaning she thinks that she has become very fat since she got pregnant. On the other hand, she uses a positive metaphor saying the baby is precious, meaning although pregnancy has its down sides it

Identity in Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar

1673 words - 7 pages while institutionaized Esther cannot escape from the intense pressure of her visitors: "I kept feeling the visitors measuring my fat and stringy hair against what I had been and what they wanted me to be". Detached and isolated from her inner self, Esther focuses her hopes and dreams on the anticipations of others.   Esther exists in a perceptive and cerebral world which consequently segregates her from many social aspects in her life

Depression in Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar

1281 words - 5 pages relationship according to Freud has impacted Esther. Esther’s psychological transformation from a perfectly healthy person ends up suffering from depression. Her influences around her have negatively shown Esther a negative path to take. The events during the 1950s such as the Rosenbergs executions have only made the transformation even powerful. Sylvia Plath’s life could be compared to the Bell Jar because she was in the same situation as Esther. Freud’s theory of psychoanalysis and psycho dynamic has addressed depression through the main character Esther. Works Cited ( (

Women's Fight Against Social Convention in Sylvia Plath's Poem, Ariel

620 words - 2 pages Women's Fight Against Social Convention in Sylvia Plath's Poem, Ariel "Ariel" is the title poem from Sylvia Plath's controversial collection of poetry written during the last few months of her life in 1963. The traditional gender roles of 1960s America promoted a double-standard and wrongly imposed upon women the idea of a "Happy Housewife Heroine" who cherished "the receptivity and passivity implicit in (her) nature" and was "devoted to

Death, Personal Experience and the Supernatural in Sylvia Plath's Poetry

1997 words - 8 pages of Plath. In her poetry she often makes allusions to mythological or fantastical figures from history. The very title of the poem itself can be seen as a reference to the massive statue of the Greek god, Helios, that was erected in Ancient Greece. Furthering this idea is her incorporation of the concept of the oracle and the Oresteia, a trilogy of Greek tragedies ("Oresteia."). The poem “Daddy” is all about how Plath struggled to deal with the

Use of Imagery in Daddy by Sylvia Plath

2061 words - 8 pages becoming another one of those failures from another woman’s apartment. The imagery of “Daddy,” of her father and her husband, each her protector and her abuser in one, stands a testament of words to just that. Works Cited Barnard, Caroline King. Sylvia Plath. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1978. Goelzhauser, Nicola. “Imagery in Sylvia Plath’s ‘Daddy.’” Online. “Oedipus Complex.” Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. 10th ed. 1993. Plath, Sylvia. The Collected Poems. Ed. Ted Hughes. NewYork: Harper Perennial, 1972. “Sylvia the Vampire Slayer.” Online.

Truth, Illusion, and Examination in Sylvia Plath's The Mirror

663 words - 3 pages Truth, Illusion, and Examination in Sylvia Plath's The Mirror           Who would be so pretentious as to suggest that they were "silver and exact," and that they "have no preconceptions?" Poet Sylvia Plath dares to "meditate on the opposite wall" in her poem The Mirror to reveal to her reader some of her own insecurities, the theme of this, and several other of her poems. The poet does some introspective exploration in both stanzas; the

Similar Essays

Gaining Freedom From Male Oppression In Sylvia Plath's "Daddy"

992 words - 4 pages Plath's poem "Daddy" describes feelings of oppression from childhood and conjures up the struggle many women face in a male-dominated society. The conflict of this poem is male authority versus the right of a female to control her own life and to be free of male domination. This poem starts out describing her struggle as one that has been unresolved because she was just a child when her father died. "Daddy, I have had to kill you. / You

Sylvia Plath's Poem Daddy Essay

2347 words - 9 pages Sylvia Plath's Poem Daddy Plath expressed a feminist point of view in her poems, She was not a very radical feminist, but she did show her rage against men in her works. In "Daddy", Plath expresses her feelings about her family, and the prominent male figures in her life: Sylvia Plath's father Otto Emil Plath, and her husband Ted Hughes. The title itself sounds feminine. This poem is divided into two parts. The first

Revenge And Hatred In Sylvia Plath's Daddy

607 words - 2 pages Revenge and Hatred in Plath's Daddy The power of Plath's Daddy to threaten, shock and move the reader remains undiminished, years after it was written. To the unsuspecting reader, the experience of first reading "Daddy" is a confusion of discomfort, excitement and guilty pleasure, for the pleasures of revenge are said to be sweet, and this is a revenge poem of the first rank. Revenge upon whom? Father? Perhaps, more likely, upon her

An Analysis Of Sylvia Plath's Poem, Daddy

803 words - 3 pages An Analysis of Sylvia Plath's Poem, Daddy Sylvia Plath's famous poem "Daddy" seems to refer quite consistently to her deceased father (and obliquely to her then estranged husband Ted Hughes) by use of many references that can clearly be associated with the background of Otto Plath, emphasizing his German heritage. These include the "Polish town" where Otto was born, the atrocities of the German Nazis in the Second World War ("Dachau