by Sylvia Plath
Lady Lazarus Violence Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Line)
A sort of walking miracle, my skin
Bright as a Nazi lampshade, (4-5)
Yikes. Lampshades? That's gruesome, but this image is rooted in a rumored reality. Lady L's reference is to the lampshades that the Nazis were said to have made out of the skins of their victims. This is a violent and visceral image, and we are forced to contemplate the relationship between the persecutors of the Nazis and Lady L's (imagined?) persecutors, whoever they are.
What a million filaments.
The peanut-crunching crowd
Shoves in to see
Them unwrap me hand and foot—
The big strip tease.
Gentlemen, ladies (25-30)
Here Lady Lazarus introduces us to her imaginary circus, where she's forced to deal with the violence of the spectators who strip her. She has no power here; she must submit to being a spectacle for other people's entertainment.
There is a charge
For the eyeing of my scars, there is a charge
For the hearing of my heart—
It really goes.
And there is a charge, a very large charge
For a word or a touch
Or a bit of blood
Or a piece of my hair or my clothes. (57-64)
Lady L tells us that the "peanut-crunching crowd" has to drop some dough to see her, and that there's an extra charge for touching or speaking. Lady Lazarus feels as if she has no options, that everyone wants a (literal) piece of her. In the poem, they're after her hair, her blood. Creep city.