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Study Questions

Lady Lazarus Questions

Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.
  1. What does "Lady Lazarus" think about life and death? Are they two completely distinct states? Or does the poem have another point of view?
  2. Who has the power in the poem? Does power change hands? How can you tell?
  3. "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?
  4. Why does Lady Lazarus almost always refer to death as "it"? Why doesn't she use the word "death"?
  5. 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?
  6. Who's the speaker's enemy? Why do you think so?
  7. How biographical do you think this poem is? What are some similarities and differences between real life Plath and the speaker?
  8. Does the fact that the speaker is (presumably) a woman play an important role? Why or why not?
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