Power In Sylvia Plath's Daddy

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In her poem “Daddy,” Sylvia Plath illustrates the struggle between a victimized daughter and a towering, menacing father. Written at the end of her life, this work of art shines out among Plath’s other poems while still relating to her previous works. Throughout her life, Plath experienced many life changing events, taking what she learned from them and amplifying the knowledge by writing it down into a beautiful piece of art. The resulting poems and novels reflects the deep wounds embedded in Plath, and they express her power as a writer just for this reason. After reading Plath’s “Daddy,” inquiries of Plath’s personal life drives the reader to question how Plath’s heritage, father, ex-husband, and mentality influenced the poem. Daughter of a German-born father and an American mother of Austrian heritage, Plath grew up in a household of foreign custom. Plath’s German heritage built a poetic foundation that created a …show more content…
Meyers notes, “Otto’s spectral and menacing figure — always dead, not alive — recurs throughout Sylvia’s poems” (78). In “Daddy,” Plath admits to being afraid of her father with by alluding with “I have always been scared of you” (291). Fear of a superior power definitely presents itself within this poem, but the speaker is not the only one affected by victimization. By referring to the Jews and their oppression by the Germans during the Holocaust, “personal as well as historical victimization and attempted vindication are dramatized in Plath’s poem” (Platizky 106). Plath demonstrates the combination of these two victimizations with “[a]n engine, an engine / [c]huffing me off like a Jew” (291). In these lines, Plath relates the speaker’s victimization with a Jew who fell victim to the Nazi war machine. Nevertheless, victimization shares a spotlight in the poem with another attribute: death and the reluctance to let

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