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Analysis


Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Form and Meter

Take a look at "Lady Lazarus." What's the first thing you notice? Those three-line stanzas, right? Those are called tercets, and "Lady Lazarus" is made up of twenty-eight of them. The tercets thems...

Speaker

The speaker of "Lady Lazarus" is Lady Lazarus herself, and in that sense, this poem almost reads like a monologue. Here's the lowdown on the star of our show:(1) She's extremely depressed, disturbe...

Setting

The poem takes place in an imaginary space; Lady L doesn't tell us where she's speaking from, what's around her, or even if she's in any place at all. But throughout the poem, she evokes two main s...

Sound Check

As we discussed in the "Form and Meter" section, "Lady Lazarus" is a pretty intense sounding poem. While it doesn't have a set rhyme or metrical scheme, there are tons of repeated sounds (like rhym...

What's Up With the Title?

"Lady Lazarus" is a poem spoken by—yup, that's right—Lady Lazarus. Lady Lazarus is a figment of Plath's imagination. There never was a real Lady L, no matter how hard you Google. But Plath was...

Calling Card

Brutal MetaphorsPlath's poetry is known for its brutal metaphors. Her Lady Lazarus is depressed, disturbed, and suicidal. The most direct way for Plath to impart to us the horror of Lady L's scenar...

Tough-o-Meter

"Lady Lazarus" definitely has its tricky moments. If you don't know too much about the Holocaust, or if you're not familiar with Plath's life, the poem can be confusing. But never fear, Shmoop is h...

Trivia

When she was just a college student, Plath won a Guest Editorship at Mademoiselle magazine. (Nice work if you can get it, we think.) If you want to read a somewhat fictionalized account of this tim...

Steaminess Rating

"Lady Lazarus" isn't a sexy poem, but we're going to go ahead and give it a PG-13 for violence and gore. It's a poem about suicide and being burned alive, which is to say, Plath isn't for kids.

Allusions

Lazarus, from the Gospel of John (Title)My Enemy (11)"Kubla Khan" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (24-25)The Holocaust (throughout)
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