by Sylvia Plath
Lady Lazarus Violence Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Line)
I turn and burn. (71)
In this one small line, Lady Lazarus imagines that she's burning to death in a concentration camp crematorium. The smallness of the line contrasts with the horror of what's happening.
You poke and stir.
Flesh, bone, there is nothing there—
A cake of soap,
A wedding ring,
A gold filling. (73-78)
Lady Lazarus lists the remnants of the crematorium fires; all that's left of the people burned alive is ash and trinkets. The image may be quiet—it's just a subdued list of objects—but we know the horror that leads to that ash.
Out of the ash
I rise with my red hair
And I eat men like air. (82-84)
In the final moment of the poem, Lady Lazarus imagines that she can turn the tables on her persecutors. She resurrects herself, and returns to the living to "eat men like air." While this is an ambiguous line, we can be sure that it's violent. She's returning from the dead with cannibalistic urges, after all. The cycle of violence in this poem never disappears.