Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
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Analysis


Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Form and Meter

"Ariel" is written in free verse, which means that it has no regular rhyme scheme or meter. That doesn't mean that "Ariel" is a willy-nilly mess, though. Plath's poem is organized into tercets, or...

Speaker

Sylvia Plath is known as a confessional poet, which means that she wrote highly personal, detailed, and emotional poems. For this reason, we might want to assume that the speaker of "Ariel" is Plat...

Setting

"Ariel" doesn't give us much in terms of setting. The poem begins before dawn, in darkness, and ends as the creepy, red sun is rising. We get only little flashes of the scenery around our speakerâ€...

Sound Check

The best way—actually, the only way—to get the full force of "Ariel" is to read it aloud. Seriously. Read it aloud to yourself right now. Don't worry. We'll wait right here while you do.…Back...

What's Up With the Title?

Here's the deal: in real life, Sylvia Plath had a horse named "Ariel." Her husband Ted Hughes explained that, one day, Ariel really did take Plath for a wild, galloping ride: Ariel was the name of...

Calling Card

Check out the other poems in Plath's book Ariel, and you'll see that our gal Sylvia was a fan of short lines. Seriously, check 'em out: we recommend "Lady Lazarus" and "Daddy" for starters. Plath's...

Tough-o-Meter

We're not going to lie, guys. "Ariel" is a tough poem. It moves so fast, it's hard to tell even what's going on the first time you read it. Never fear, though. We've broken this baby down in our "S...

Trivia

If she hadn't become a writer, Plath would have liked to become a doctor. But we're not gonna lie; we don't love the idea of a visit to Dr. Plath. (Source.) Plath was an American ex-pat; she left A...

Steaminess Rating

There's a whole lot of losing control in "Ariel," but there's nothing overtly sexual in the poem. We feel totally okay with you reading this one out loud to your little sisters and bros.

Allusions

Ariel, Shakespeare's The Tempest (title and throughout) Lady Godiva (20)
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