Symbolism In 'Lady Lazarus' By Sylvia Plath

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We usually think of religion as being redemptive, but here the symbols are oppressive. In ‘Lady Lazarus’ Plath expresses an awareness of the world that is underpinned by regret and sorrow, uneasiness and apprehension and in ‘Being Christlike ‘Hughes, expresses that same sense of regret and let down, apprehension and anxiety. Their resentment of failure is palpable. Both poets use twisted symbolism, provoking unease in the reader. They construct destructive symbols of neglect, abuse, cruelty and oppression interwoven around religious imagery. It is interesting that both poets use titles to create initial biblical impressions that suggest positive tones. However these symbols quickly lead the reader into an understanding of the opposite. ‘Lady…show more content…
Its symbolism is at once oppressing and oppressed and the image of her as a lampshade made from Jewish skin or her face compared to ‘fine Jew linen’ is particularly disturbing. Lazarus refers to the New Testament character, Lazarus, Jesus ‘first miracle as he awakened him from death. It is interesting to see how she constructs her narrative of suicide. She opens with ‘I have done it again’. But done what? The horror is revealed in a disclosure of her multiple suicide attempts. We are told that this is her third attempt. ‘One in every ten’ (years). She must have swallowed poison, as ‘the sour breath will vanish in a day’ Plath uses the symbolism of the 9 lives of a cat to show how death has eluded her. ‘Like the cat I have 9 times to die’. We discover that the first tome was an accident, and the second and third attempts…show more content…
She compares those who have discovered her suicide attempt to those Nazi sympathizers who stood by as Jews were gassed in Nazi camps. This is continued with ‘Herr Doktor’ who will have her body after she has taken her life to dissect and experiment with. The Nazi symbolism is ever present, chilling and disturbing. In ‘Lady Lazarus’ by Sylvia Plath, the poet uses horrific imagery and symbolism of barbaric Nazi acts to show the reader how forced she feels to take her own life and she will continue to attempt this as ‘like the cat, I have 9 times to

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