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The Colossus

The Colossus

by Sylvia Plath

Death Theme

Though some have different theories, most say that "The Colossus" is one big long extended metaphor for a woman grieving for her father. The poem is chock full of death imagery, which gets this idea across without smacking us in the face with it too too much. (It just smacks us in the face occasionally, which we can deal with.) Overall, the poem paints a tenderly tragic picture of the way one person's death can dominate the life of another.

Questions About Death

  1. What hints does the speaker give that the statue might represent a person who's died?
  2. Do you think the speaker believes in the afterlife? Why, or why not?
  3. How would you describe the speaker's general attitude toward death?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

All the deathly imagery in the poem creates a picture of a metaphorical Land of the Dead, which represents the emotional trauma that the speaker's father's death has trapped her in. Next stop: bummerville.

Naw, it's cool. Though the speaker seems consumed by her father's death, she seems almost at peace with its dominance on her life.

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