Analysis Of Daddy By Silvia Plath English Essay

2304 words - 10 pages

Kerrigan Kelly
English 102
Mrs. Carmichael
February 17, 2019
Literary Analysis: Daddy
Daddy​ by Sylvia Plath is a very controversial poem and although the poem only tells one
story, the different stanzas can be interpreted differently. Sylvia Plath uses her poem ​Daddy​ to
convey her extreme emotions of her father while he was alive and after his death. She also uses
this poem to show her feelings toward her destructive relationship with her husband. In this
piece, Sylvia Plath lost her father when she still admired him deeply, but as she gets older she
starts to compare her father to a Nazi, the devil, and a vampire. This relationship with her father
then led to the short and unpleasant marriage with her husband. ​Daddy ​has sixteen free-verse
stanzas, with the exception of a few lines containing iambic rhythm. Throughout this poem, Plath
portrays deeply rooted feelings of anger and animosity towards her father and her husband by
using metaphors, imagery and similes.
The many metaphors in this poem play a large role in describing the feelings the author
had experienced. For example, in the first stanza Plath says “You do not do, you do not do / Any
more, black shoe / In which I have lived like a foot.” (1-3) The speaker is comparing herself to a
foot that lives in a shoe, that shoe being her father. This metaphor becomes more clear if we, as
readers, visualize the shoe instead thinking about it in a more hypothetical way. A shoe is often
thought to keep a foot warm and protect it, but can also be thought of as a trap, smothering the
foot. The adjective “black” also suggests death, which could imply that the shoe is not
necessarily a trap, but more of a coffin. Looking at the metaphor this way gives a bit of insight
into the dark theme of this poem.
Imagery is also used in this poem to contribute to the illustration of Plath’s attitude
towards her father. In stanza eleven, Plath says ¨In the picture I have of you, / A cleft in your
chin instead of your foot / But no less a devil for that.” (52-54) This line gives the father physical
characteristics, while comparing the cleft in her fathers chin to the cleft in the foot of the devil.
Another example of imagery is in lines 72-74, when Sylvia Plath says ¨The vampire who said he
was you / And drank my blood for a year, / Seven years, if you want to know.¨ These lines
describe Plath's father and her husband, who is much like her father, as a vampire. This
bloodsucking creature is like her father because he haunts Plath long after his death. But the
vampire is also like the husband because he drained the life out of her through their marriage,
much like a vampire would drain her life through her blood.
In this poem Sylvia Plath uses several similes. Stanza seven says ​“An engine, an engine /
Chuffing me off like a Jew. / A Jew to Dachau, Auschwitz, Belsen. / I begin to talk like a Jew. / I
think I may well be a Jew.” (31-35) The similes in this stanza show us, the readers, the amount of
suffering Plath...

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