by Sylvia Plath
Lady Lazarus Death Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Line)
Is an art, like everything else.
I do it exceptionally well.
I do it so it feels like hell.
I do it so it feels real. (43-47)
Well, in Sylvia Plath's words, dying does seem like an art—this is a pretty great poem. She's channeled her pain into these fierce, repetitive lines. And check out those rhymes and slant rhymes. If those don't pack a punch, then we don't know what does.
I turn and burn.
Do not think I underestimate your great concern.
You poke and stir.
Flesh, bone, there is nothing there—
A cake of soap,
A wedding ring,
A gold filling. (71-78)
Here Lady L imagines that she's a Holocaust victim and that she's been burned in a concentration camp crematorium—all that's left of her body is ash and a few gold remnants. At this point, her body has totally disappeared; there's nothing left of her.
Out of the ash
I rise with my red hair
And I eat men like air. (82-84)
The poem does a switcheroo here; before, Lady L's body had been burnt up, but here, she, like the phoenix, rises from the ashes. She resurrects herself (unlike Lazarus, whom Jesus resurrects). She uses her power to fight back and return from the dead. Maybe Lady L isn't ready to give up on her world just quite yet.