“Daddy” by Sylvia Plath
In “Daddy,” Sylvia Plath conveys her strong feelings for her father and his death and her fateful life with her husband. In this poem, the speaker lost her father at the age of ten, as Sylvia Plath lost her father when she was eight. Then she starts realizing the dominant nature of her father, and compares her father to a devil, a Nazi, and a vampire. In this poem, Sylvia Plath discussed about her father and his death, her failure in marriage, and her attempts to commit suicide that are compelling. She used imagery as a support to describe her hatred towards men in her life starting from her father to husband. She added clear imagery, incorporated her personal changes, and used the language that helped to transform the feeling ad tone of the poem as it moved on. She hates her father that makes her to go to scold her father as “bastard.” She uses her father’s “black Shoe” as imagery and starts the journey by depicting the tortures she got from her father. She further portrays him as a great statue because she considered her father as a god when he died. She even touches history to illustrate the image of her father as German Nazi and considers herself as a Jew. She arouses her anger and tension from images. Along with the rhyme, her unique images moved on. She depicts her first suicide attempt that shows her state of mind. When she speaks about the “man in black,” the readers can see the illation of her husband and her failure in marriage life. As the daddy in the poem is a German immigrant, Sylvia’s father was also an immigrant of German. Sylvia Plath tried to commit suicide as the speaker did the same in the poem. Sylvia Plath was married to a man for about seven years who sucked her blood for all these years in the name of husband.
As it is notable in all confessional poems, there are demonstrated personal views that are incorporated into the poem. This possibly imitates her own conversion from her existence as a victim. The timeline of her life is mimicked by the timeline within the poem. In the beginning, the poem portrays a weak child’s reaction to the early death of her father that derived from her struggles. When the immature child reaches its adulthood, she starts searching for her father illogically that leads her to commit suicidal attempt, which was not successful. Sylvia Plath’s attempts of suicide and interventions started at such an age that reflects the poem. Sylvia encountered a man with her daddy’s attributes and accepted him as a husband for seven years, over again extends to tell her ineffectual marriage story. As she decides to determine her own asseverations, she kills the two men theoretically. This is declarative of her eventually taking back and theoretically killing the two men that are stopping her moving on from her inactive condition. She thinks herself as Jew. Like Polish who were crushed under the roller by German in 1941, she senses as if she is squeezed under that roller. At first, she imagined every German was her father and thought the German language obscene. Actually, she thought so distinguishable from her father that she considered herself a Jew being took out to a concentration camp. She began to talk, feel, and behave like a Jew in various different ways. She inquires whether she might really be a Jew because of her resemblance to an itinerant.
In “Daddy,” Plath not only explores about her relationship and life with her father and husband, but also about the general relationships of women and men. “Daddy” explores the life after death, the paradoxes of death, and retentions of the past. The poem is dealt with the life of a dead person. This poem is addressed to a person who is dead, which creates the poem supernatural. However, it extends even further to describe them as devils, a statue, and vampires. Whenever the speaker tries to commit suicide, she is even stuck back together with gum. The occult factors of this poem make it spooky. She breaks up her communications with her father for good at the one stage. Her struggle to communicate with him makes her to suffer, showing the power of language. Further, the speaker states that she finds herself surviving like a foot in a shoe, a metaphor for the confinement. In her marriage life, she is entrapped into marrying a person resembles her father’s character.
Metaphor acts a vital role in “Daddy,” as firm metaphors are expressed throughout the poem though feet and shoes are a repeated image in this poem. Those metaphors demand on different refinements of meaning as the poem moves on. Examining this metaphor on an abstract stage is much less useful than seeing it. The metaphor arouses various useful associations. Usually, a shoe protects and keeps it warm. However, in this poem, she depicts that the foot is trapped inside the shoe. The adjective “black” proposes something gloomy because the shoe is tightly fitted around the foot, as it resembles a corpse in a coffin. Therefore, Sylvia finds at the same time smothered and protected by her father. Afterwards, the black shoe comes out as a military “boot” (49) when she imagined her father as a Nazi. Her changing tone and use of language describe the existent speaker that is presented throughout the poem. The overall consequence of reading the poem, which is so spectacular, dramatic, striking, and emotional, induces sympathy for the victim. We are able to struggle throughout the life of Sylvia through her intense use of language and images. In “Daddy,” she covers both the historical and personal aspects.
Wagner-Martin, Linda. Critical Essays on Sylvia Plath. Boston, MA: G.K. Hall, 1984. Print.