Daddy Essay

1085 Words 5 Pages
Sylvia Plath’s poetry is well known for its deeply personal and emotional subject matter. Much of Plath’s poetry is confessional and divulges the most intimate parts of her psyche whether through metaphor or openly, without creating a persona through which to project her feelings, and through the use of intense imagery. Plath’s attempt to purge herself of the oppressive male figures in her life is one such deeply personal and fundamental theme in her poetry. In her poem, “Daddy”, which declares her hatred for her father and husband, this attempt is expressed through language, structure, and tone. (Perkins, 591)

Sylvia’s father, Otto Plath, was a German immigrant and an entomologist who specialized in bumblebees. Plath described him to a
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(Perkins, 594) The frequent use of the word black throughout the poem also conveys a feeling of gloom and suffocation.

Plath felt oppressed and stifled by men throughout her life. The first stanza of “Daddy” conveys her feelings of domination by her father:

You do not do, you do not do
Any more, black shoe
In which I have lived like a foot
For thirty years, poor and white,
Barely daring to breathe or Achoo.

Plath uses similes and metaphors to describe herself as a foot being cowed by a black shoe- her father- in which she barely dares to move. Other very intense similes and metaphors such as "Chuffing me off like a Jew. A Jew to Dachau, Auschwitz, Belson," and "I think I may well be a Jew" clearly show the feelings of anguish and hopelessness she felt under her father’s control.

Strong images are presented throughout the poem. The words "marble-heavy, a bag full of God" convey the omniscience of her father's authority and the weight it imposed on her throughout her life. Another strong image is the comparison of Plath’s husband to a vampire: “The vampire who said he was you / And drank my blood for a year, / Seven years, if you want to know.” This stanza accounts the way Plath’s husband stripped her of her sense of self. Plath gave Hughes her trust and he gained total control over her, which he used to his advantage, thus “drinking her blood.” Additionally, Hughes and Plath were married for exactly seven years before he left