by Sylvia Plath
Lady Lazarus Questions
Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.
- What does "Lady Lazarus" think about life and death? Are they two completely distinct states? Or does the poem have another point of view?
- Who has the power in the poem? Does power change hands? How can you tell?
- "Lady Lazarus" has a whole lot of rhyming words, but its rhymes aren't in a regular pattern. What is the effect of this? Why not write it in a formal meter and rhyme scheme?
- Why does Lady Lazarus almost always refer to death as "it"? Why doesn't she use the word "death"?
- What is the effect of all of the Holocaust references in the poem? Do they trivialize Lady Lazarus's pain? Do they amplify it? Are they totally un-PC, or are they a legit way to talk about her feelings?
- Who's the speaker's enemy? Why do you think so?
- How biographical do you think this poem is? What are some similarities and differences between real life Plath and the speaker?
- Does the fact that the speaker is (presumably) a woman play an important role? Why or why not?
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