Plath’s contribution to English literature should have a fitting memorial” (The
Plath Myth p.7)
Plath one of the well known American poets, belongs to confessional school of
poetry. 1950s and 1960s was the period of emergence of new poetic style in
American poetic genres. The poems of Robert Lowell, Sylvia Plath, Anne Saxton, and
W.D Snodgrass are reflecting the autobiographical elements or they are highly
personal. They set in relation to boarder social themes including taboo matters
mental illness, sexuality and suicide. Referring Sylvia Plath Robert Lowell
once announced that
in these poems is personal, confessional, felt but the manner of the feeling
controlled hallucination, the autobiography forever.”
Daddy is a dramatic poem written by Plath in which she
addressed to her ceased father Ottoplath. The speaker narrates it with Electra
complex. She treats it with through surrealistic manner come out unconsciously.
The poem can examine with ambivalent feeling towards her father. Electra is
psychoanalytic term which instituted by Carl Jung. It is formation of a
discrete sexual identity in girl’s analogous experience as like as Oedipus
complex. It is a complexity develops that at girls Phallic stage (that is 3-6).
The term derived from Greek mythology.
Electra is dominant figure in Greek mythology. There is a wonderful story on behind Electra
who is taking avenge against her own daughter. She was the daughter of king
Agamemnon and princess of Argos a metropolitan city which was ruled by
Agamemnon. Clytemnestra, queen of Argos falls love with Agamemnon her
cousin Aegis thus. So they kill Agamemnon who finds
this truth. Electra waits for return back of Orestes to kill her own mother
Clytemnestra and Aegisthus. and reclaims the throne. Sylvia Plath’s creative
poem Daddy colored with psychological insights which applicable to experience
of everyday living beings. Though the title suggest intimate connotation in
contras Plath used highly trickiness and ironies. Even though the language is
simple, the subject matter is very complex. The poem begins with tone of
not do, you do not do Anymore,
I lived like a foot For
years, poor and white,
Barely daring to breathe or Achoo” (Plath1-5)
But it is little bit confusing, because one could easily
find angry tone. These lines clearly shows that the speaker afraid her father. She is safe in “black shoe” she suffocates in
that trap. It is a phallic symbol which represents her father’s oppressive
image. It shows her father’s memories always haunt her though the miseries are
over by his death.
From the very following stanzas get a picture of
daughter’s admiration on her father. To a daughter her father is god to her.
Plath here compares him to God. “Marble- heavy, a bag full of God, Ghastly
statue …….”the fascination makes him as god. She wants to “recover” him that
shows her fond towards her father. The speaker is trying to overcome from her
traumatic childhood experience. She is also highly witnessed the political
conflicts. As a daughter of Jewish mother and German father it is natural the
derivation of hierarchy. Her father was a Nazi and they gave importance to
native or German language and forced to speak others. Speaker is also finding
his hometown, which means she is finding her own identity. There is many towns
in the name of Polish so feels difficult to find her “root”. She believes as she is a Jewish girl and she
belongs to the ancestry of Gypsies. She feels difficulty to speak German
language so she says it is “language obscene”. During World War II Jewish were
imprisoned by the Nazis.They try to colonize them with urging to speak German.
The persuasion makes her “god” figured father into “Swastika” which indicates
symbol of Nazi or evil. That pulls her in to darkness
“Not god but a Swastika
no sky could squeak through”
She loves him as a fascist. Another thin sure as a Jew she
is victim of the Germans. Then another instance speaker gives she has been
loved his father is She married a man who resembles her father.
marring the man she modeled after her father, the speaker fulfilling her
Electra complex. “I made a model of you”.
Her spouse is Ted Hughes as same