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Lady Lazarus

Lady Lazarus

by Sylvia Plath

Analysis: Calling Card

Brutal Metaphors

Plath'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 scenario is to make references to the Holocaust, the most horrific event of the twentieth century. Again and again, Lady Lazarus compares herself to Jewish victims of the Nazis. It takes a brave (or some might say, crazy) poet to elevate her speaker's suffering to the level of Holocaust victim, but Plath doesn't hold back.

These intense, brutal, and unforgiving metaphors are the hallmark of Plath's poetry. Her poem "Daddy" deals with vampires and communicating with the dead, her poem "Mirror" disturbs readers with an image of an old woman as a fish deep in the water, and her poem called "Tulips" describes the flowers not as beautiful, but like terrifying, angry animals. We can count on Plath to take the everyday world and twist it in some terrifying way.

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