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Sylvia Plath Daddy Analysis


In the poem “Daddy”, by Sylvia Plath, there are many accusations against Nazi influence and her revolting persona against her father’s path, a political worship of an Absolute Monarchy under the fearful rule of a manipulative dictator, Adolf Hitler. The third stanza presenting the last line presents the language of Germany, “Ach, du”, which translates to Oh…you…, in German. This if broken down shows a sign of grief from “Ach”, and du meaning you, as in her father which she meant to kill. The fourth stanza giving the lines,

“In the German tongue, in the Polish town,

Scraped flat by the rollers,

Of wars, wars, wars.

But the name of the town is common…”.

This stanza gives a hard-line proof of German occupation in Poland in the years of 1939-1945. Through this Sylvia gives reference to the environmental and emotional terror inflicted upon the Pollock’s through constant control by certain factors. These include the line, “…but the name of the town is common…”, giving reasoning behind Hitler’s justifications of bringing the original German tribes together again that reside within Poland, and the continued genocide of Jewish descent throughout.

The emotionally distraught poem began to take a more detailed approach as Sylvia began to explain her father’s physical features and occupational stance, the stanza as follows,

I have always been scared of you,

With your luftWaffe, your gobbledygoo.

And your neat mustache

And your Aryan eye, bright blue.

Panzer-man, panzer-man, O You”.

The stanza as a whole defines her father’s obsessive nature toward his Deutschland, but there are a few things that must be pointed out. First is the line, “…With your Luftwaffe, your gobbledygoo…” which gives her feelings towards the extreme dictatorship that was her country. The following line shows how Sylvia rejected her father’s ideas, “…your Aryan eye, bright blue, Panzer-man, panzer-man, O you…”, and demonstrates how he had blue eyes, a major characteristic in the Nazi constitution per say. The lines also state his occupation as a tank man, a soldier whose heart was diminished by the constant sights of war and it’s wearing on the family of the particular individual.

Although there is a major distinction between the poem and Nazi influence, there seems to be an even stronger bond of family morals, both productive and destructive in nature. This is seen in the last two stanzas of the poem,

“If I've killed one man, I've killed two ---- The vampire who said he was you And drank my blood for a year, Seven years, if you want to know. Daddy, you can lie back now. There's a stake in your fat black heart And the villagers never liked you. They are dancing and stamping on you. They always knew it was you. Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I'm through.”

These two stanzas make a very sincere point, as it gives basis to the husband of Sylvia as if he was a vampire, sucking the life and emotion from her as if it was her father’s promise after death. She goes on to explain just how long he had been pulling her emotional energies from her, all the while, Sylvia thinking and relating the dreadful seven year experience to her memories of the childhood Swastika. Toward the end of the lines, Sylvia goes on to explain daringly just how evil her father really was, telling of his “…fat black heart…” This point goes on to tell of the villagers that had proclaimed a self served victory after seeing that it truly was her father that had haunted her emotions and ultimately her soul, as Sylvia Plath lived no more than some thirty odd years.

In conclusion, this poem gives a sense of rebellious freedom from the tortures of political upheaval, her story proclaimed among the millions of others in that same time frame, possible thousands from the same city. All these people were so afraid to speak of their troubles in fear of public execution or humiliation/degradation, and above all else, added to the pool of Jewish blood that flowed with an opaque tone down the Rhine River.

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BakerRambles (author) from Baltimore, MD on February 21, 2012:

Thank you for that rebel, I'm glad you enjoyed her work to that degree.

Rebel vatakara on February 20, 2012:

Daddy is a daring poem penned by the schizophrenic Sylvia. This poem portrays the piquent picture of a parent. An electra complex complex of ideas sylvia constructs the diabolic and devilish days of nazism and deconstructs the days of her own life.....in brief the whole poem bring in the fact that women are alwys the centre of torture..

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