Ted Hughes: The Shadow of Sylvia Plath Essay example

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As England’s Poet Laureate, and recipient of both the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry and T.S. Eliot’s prize for poetry, Ted Hughes was an acclaimed poet. The shadow of Hughes late wife, Sylvia Plath, kept Hughes stagnant in his career, in which he was known as “Her Husband” (Middlebrook). Hughes most recent collection of poems, Birthday Letters, took him over twenty-five years to write, and contains poems which recount the marriage of the couple. Hughes wrote the poems as a loving gesture towards Sylvia, but the poems were misinterpreted as “an attempt to adjust the public record in the wake of her confession and the mass of commentary which has grown up around them” (Spurr 3). Hughes incorporated into his poetry the ideals of…show more content…
After the affair Plath grew increasingly depressed and eventually committed suicide. He said that “Plaths death was inevitable, she had been on that track most of her life,” but he could not contend with the additional suicide of Wevill in 1969, which he said was “utterly within her power, and it was an outcome of her reaction to Sylvia’s action,” which led to Wevill’s suicide.” These past horrific experiences strongly affected Hughes future relationships and poetry. Hughes withdrew into seclusion following the suicides of his lovers. He “was an intensely private man in an era when privacy is not much allowed” (Wagner 17). He stayed out of the spotlight, because, at the time, feminists accused Hughes of causing the suicide of Plath and Wevill. Even before these events occurred, Hughes viewed the world as: …a battlefield. His is the world-view of a betrayed Fundamentalist, who, discovering that God has no care for man's fate, understands the universe to be governed not by divine love but by power. In Hughes's earlier books, Nature appeared as a field of violent struggle where only the fittest survived. (Hoffman 6) His father died in World War I, which led to his doubt of religion and his passion for writing about nature. Throughout his life, Hughes felt that the world was a difficult place to live in and after his lovers died, he refuted this idea.
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