Psychological Control In Sylvia Plath's Daddy

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In Sylvia Plath’s “Daddy,” Plath discusses her troubling relationships, mostly between her father, that had an enormous impact on her life. Attempting to finally rid herself of her father’s control, Plath uses this poem to metaphorically kill him over and over again while continuing to hold on to bits and pieces of him that she still loves and misses. His psychological control over her took a toll on her mentally as seen through a number of suicide attempts. She uses this to propel her work, causing her to be one of the greatest writers to ever live. Sylvia Plath’s early life is seen to affected her mental stability, which is often expressed through her writing, and is especially evident in “Daddy.”
In Plath’s writing, it is very evident that
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It is also seen in Plath’s writing where she intertwines her husband and father into one devilish image. The final variation of the poem speaks of killing evil by integrating her father and husband into one life sucking vampire (Leondopoulos 1-3). This so called life sucking vampire is a metaphorical term to describe the psychological control both her husband and father had on her life. No words can describe the resentment she held towards both of them. She not only uses her poetry to go through a symbolic killing of her father, but also uses it to annihilate her very own husband as seen in “Daddy”, “If I’ve killed one man, I’ve killed two” (292). This is where she refers to her husband and father as one evil. Janet McCann adds to this in her article. McCann states, “She married a man like her father and separated from him, thus ‘killing’ both the husband and the father” (1). Wanting to finally free herself from the men in her life, Plath uses the poem “Daddy” to finally do so as she metaphorically kills them both freeing herself of any and every restriction on her life. Obviously this does not pan out to well, as one can see from her suicide that happened four months later, but she did believe that this poem would help her accomplish her goal of …show more content…
Plath uses the images of Jews in Dachau, Auschwitz, and Belsen to demonstrate her strong connection to the Nazi treatment of the Jews during the Holocaust (291). This supposed feeling of Jewishness makes her feel as if her father is always shunning down on her, making her feel unwanted by him. This is quite ironic since Plath’s qualities make up a perfect German. Meyers gives a great description of her saying, “Plath had all the quintessential German qualities: she was clean, orderly, punctual, meticulous, disciplined, industrious, conformist, and obedient” (77-80). What most people do not realize is that Sylvia Plath is actually an American. Being almost a perfect German in an American society does not fit very well. Meyers goes on to say, “When she was an adolescent, she had to hide these German characteristics, which were scorned by Americans during the war” (77-80). Having perfect German status, it is a real surprise that Plath felt almost as if she were a Jew. Lines 35 and 40 reinforce the argument that declares her supposed Jewishness by saying, “I think I may well be a Jew” and “I may be a bit of a Jew” (291). She may have felt out of place in society which may have caused her to feel like a Jew who is always looked down on by the rest of society. She is also constantly repeating the German word for “I”, reinforcing the German-Jew image (McCann 1).

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