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Lady Lazarus Analysis



Author: Poetry of Sylvia Plath Type: Poetry Views: 4092

The Collected Poems1962I have done it again.

One year in every ten

I manage it----A sort of walking miracle, my skin

Bright as a Nazi lampshade,

My right footA paperweight,

My face a featureless, fine

Jew linen.Peel off the napkin

0 my enemy.

Do I terrify?----The nose, the eye pits, the full set of teeth?

The sour breath

Will vanish in a day.Soon, soon the flesh

The grave cave ate will be

At home on meAnd I a smiling woman.

I am only thirty.

And like the cat I have nine times to die.This is Number Three.

What a trash

To annihilate each decade.What a million filaments.

The peanut-crunching crowd

Shoves in to seeThem unwrap me hand and foot

The big strip tease.

Gentlemen, ladiesThese are my hands

My knees.

I may be skin and bone,Nevertheless, I am the same, identical woman.

The first time it happened I was ten.

It was an accident.The second time I meant

To last it out and not come back at all.

I rocked shutAs a seashell.

They had to call and call

And pick the worms off me like sticky pearls.Dying

Is an art, like everything else,

I do it exceptionally well.I do it so it feels like hell.

I do it so it feels real.

I guess you could say I've a call.It's easy enough to do it in a cell.

It's easy enough to do it and stay put.

It's the theatricalComeback in broad day

To the same place, the same face, the same brute

Amused shout:'A miracle!'

That knocks me out.

There is a chargeFor 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 bloodOr a piece of my hair or my clothes.

So, so, Herr Doktor.

So, Herr Enemy.I am your opus,

I am your valuable,

The pure gold babyThat melts to a shriek.

I turn and burn.

Do not think I underestimate your great concern.Ash, ash ---

You poke and stir.

Flesh, bone, there is nothing there----A cake of soap,

A wedding ring,

A gold filling.Herr God, Herr Lucifer

Beware

Beware.Out of the ash

I rise with my red hair

And I eat men like air.






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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

.: :.

I don\'t see this poem as an ode to suicide or an encouragement to self-pity at all. What I think inspired both the poem and Sylvia\'s life is the alchemic concept of transmutation. With her typical dash of irony, the author compares her cyclical state of deep depression with what the alchemists calls \"nigredo\". It is the process of going deep down into one\'s darkest pits, the shadow side, something one could call their personal Hell. During this process one looks for an external fire (provided by circumstances, experiences or another person who has a strong impact on them, Ted Hughes in Sylvia\'s case)to be penetrated by so that it can activate one\'s inner fire in order to burn their old self to ashes. You decompose to be re-composed. That is why she states that \"dying is an art\": she tries to destroy herself to be born to a new life, to deliver a whole new essence. One of the most important aims, for an alchemist, is to transform a rough metal into gold, this final stage being called the \"Opus magnum\" of the human being. And that\'s exactly what Plath says in the end of her poem: \"I am your opus, your valuable, the pure gold baby\". She was trying to purify herself through death (whether it is to be considered merely a metaphorical death or not). In the last line she is reborn again, like a phoenix, she rises out of her old self\'s ashes and her hair is red, red as a flame. She is now ready to BE the fire she was looking for in the outside world.

| Posted on 2011-11-04 | by a guest


.: :.

In Lady Lazarus, Plath conveys the idea that oppression and adversity helps people find their strength. In this poem, she seems to break away from this oppression and realizes that struggles and challenges make us stronger individuals. The biblical allusion to Lazarus, a man who had been resurrected back to life by Jesus, enforces this idea through the idea of rebirth. In her poem, she goes through many painful deaths, which represent her struggles to escape life or doing something that is not socially accepted. People bring her back to life continuously forcing her to face more oppression and more struggles. However, after every \"rebirth\" Plath seems to go through, she seems to be stronger. Plath demonstrates this through her transformation through out the poem from being simply being human to something completely inhuman. Towards the end, Plath shifts to a more intimidating and frightening tone when she says \"Beware\" and \"I eat men like air.\" Ultimately, it seems that Plath depicts her newfound strength by the end of the poem through the struggles and pain of death, rebirth, and oppression.

| Posted on 2011-03-22 | by a guest


.: :.

Lady Lazarus is an excellent poem because unlike other depression poetry, Plath really makes use of her literary devices to try to represent her desire to end her burden of living. In response to those calling her \"crazy\" and such descriptions, I think someone on this forum has to point out the ignorance is such statements and the obvious lack of education in the field of literature. Plath\'s metaphors in this poem and the eerie atmosphere she is able to cause with her words is the mark of a literary genius. This poem marks her incredibly advanced talent in really affecting readers and not just writing about the morbidity of her mental state, but making us FEEL it. Excellent, excellent poem! Something to be appreciated, not judged.

| Posted on 2011-03-05 | by a guest


.: :.

You people are misunderstanding. It is difficult to be in a place like that. It\'s a bad place to be in. I mean how can you judge when your minds cannot even begin to fathom such thoughts. She was writing this to show you, THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS, THIS IS MY STORY. DO NOT FALLOW MY EXAMPLE I AM DIEING YOU CAN NOT SAVE ME.LOVE YOUR LIFE ENJOY IT BECAUSE I CAN NOT. Sadly she did not think of a few things before she died, though I think it would not of made a difference. life is hard dieing is easy, but life has more rewards if you just do not lose your grip.

| Posted on 2011-02-14 | by a guest


.: :.

LADY LAZARUS is a deep analysis which reflects clearly the sufferings of a woman who is distroyed by men;the existence of men on her life has depressing effects;her father and her husband are considered to be the ones she had ever loved and the ones she had ever hated.LADY LAZARUS is a plea which had not understood in the right way and time
najat rahm

| Posted on 2010-06-11 | by a guest


.: :.

LADY LAZARUS is a deep analysis which reflects clearly the sufferings of a woman who is distroyed by men;the existence of men on her life has depressing effects;her father and her husband are considered to be the ones she had ever loved and the ones she had ever hated.LADY LAZARUS is a plea which had not understood in the right way and time

| Posted on 2010-06-11 | by a guest


.: :.

I would like to add that i think another reason for her attempting suicide and tempting death was to feel an ammount of physical pain that takes over her and therefore overrides her constant dwelling on mental matters with depression, as they are after all more painful. This idea was first introduced to me by the character of Prince Myskin in Dostoyevsky's 'The Idiot' and i think is relevant to Sylvia Plath and her poetry: 'I do it so it feels like hell/I do it so it feels real.' Lady lazarus and 'If i could bleed, or sleep!/If my mouth could marry a hurt like that!' Poppies in july. I think if you look through her poetry aspects of this idea are revealed and therefore (as expected with confessional poetry) aspects of Plath's personality and disturbed mental state are revealed-i.e. the longing to cause herself physical pain to mask her mental pain.

| Posted on 2009-10-19 | by a guest


.: :.

She also claimed that "Dying is an art, like everything else, I do it exceptionally well", a little research on her life shows that she attempted suicide several times before she finally succeeded. I don't believe thats doing it "exceptionally well", if your going to do something do it right the first time.
Colton R.
Yes however if you look further in to it you see that she never meant to actually kill herself. She says "one year in every ten. and like the cat i have nine times to die" Plath saw herself reaching 90 but suiside to her was like a thrill to take the pain away a skill that she was good at. She comes back reborn, empowered saying "out of the ash i rise with my red hair and i eat men like air". The act itself is an artform, a form of expression where she cheats death becoming "a walking miracle" portraying herself as a higher being in a way because she become Lady Lazareth, the pheonix rising from the ash.
ES

| Posted on 2009-08-24 | by a guest


.: :.

Sylvia Plath was a very depressed indevidual who's obsession with death was like her way of searching for a way out. is it really insane for somebody to want to escape their depression? Sylvia saw suicide as her only way out of her problems. And as for the holocaust imagery, she needed a way to portray her feelings to others, and to her, it would have felt as dramatic as possibly the holocast, and comparing her depression to it was, to her, the best way for people to understand what she was going through.
Sylvia wasnt crazy, and it is an insult to her to say that she was. you really need to look at things from her point of view. yes she may have been mentally unstable and depressed, after all, she did under go electroshock therapy, try to commit suicide once before and accidentally beforehand, not to mentionm her electrocomplex, but can we really simply look at this poem and how she compares her situation to the suffering of the jews as crazy?

| Posted on 2009-07-30 | by a guest


.: :.

Yea,it's a a very depressed woman who cannot find any joy of her life and only seeking death.We knew that every 10 years, she tried to end her life as she felt sad when her father died to the extend that she wanted to end her life and also the second attempt was because her troubles with her husband. The way she depicted her suffering comparing it to the Jews who burnt by Hitler and the doctors who tried to get her life back every time she commit suicide is well imagined. She considered death as an art. She is not afraid of death but the process of bringing her life back by the hands of her enemies, doctors. Totally ironic .
By KaPo

| Posted on 2009-06-02 | by a guest


.: :.

Well this is as disturbing as any other poems of this woman that i've studied. i wonder how such poetry can be appreciated.
i agree with sb. above saying that it is improper to compare the life of a woman to such disastrous incident as the Holocaust.
Her poems are a riddle.

| Posted on 2009-05-02 | by a guest


.: :.

On the surface Sylvia Plath seems to be a very self-centered person intent on ending her life. This poem seems only to describe her misery and failed attempts at suicide. But with her references to the life saving doctors as her enemies, i feel that she is making a statement that the choice to live or die should be one's own. She indirectly compares the human trophys collected by the nazis during the holocaust to the doctors pride in saving a woman so bent on her own destruction. Overall the poem is well composed with excellent symbolysm and many meanings. However the theme is a bit morid for my own personal taste.
Taylor C

| Posted on 2009-03-06 | by a guest


.: :.

The way that the poem use the holocuast as a distcription of how she was feeling about herself is kind of sick and twisted. And suicide is not the answer to any of lives problems.

| Posted on 2009-03-04 | by a guest


.: :.

Death never has a happy tone when spoken of. No one wants to speak of death and let alone write death into a poem. Sylvia Plath's connection to the holocaust and her obsession with her lack of appreciation of life. It's horrible to see she must relate her life with the holocaust.

| Posted on 2009-03-04 | by MikeB


.: :.

In "Lady Lazarus" Plath discusses her attempts to commit suicide and death as a whole. The line " Like a cat I have nine times to die" expresses her desire to commit suicide. She conveys her opinions on life and death in a very depressing tone, leaving the reader with a sad feeling at the end of the poem.

| Posted on 2009-03-04 | by JordanM


.: :.

Sylvia Plath has a amazingly sickening way of describing her suicidal tendencies and her severe depression. They way she describes her life and compares it to the holocaust shows us how truly messed up she is. This poem sets the standard for crazy people.
Jon H

| Posted on 2009-03-04 | by a guest


.: :.

In this poem Plath talks about death/suicide. She talks of the Holocaust taking the poem to a whole new level of depressing. She compares suicide to being a form of art. Plath then ends the poem saying that she will attempt suicide for a third time. Overall, do not read this poem if you have thoughts of suicide, are pregnant, or have high blood pressure.
Jeanette V

| Posted on 2009-03-04 | by a guest


.: :.

The tone of this poem is very dark and depressing. It is almost ironic because she discusses how many Jews were murdered during the holocaust and how their body parts were used for different purposes. The irony is that she was not murdered or forced into any kind of horrible death, but instead she had tried multiple times to end her own life and has failed.
-Kayla D.

| Posted on 2009-03-04 | by a guest


.: :.

This poem is ironic because the Jews during the Holocaust were forced to die and used for personal items like lampshades and paperweights. But Sylvia Plath wants to die yet can not succeed at it. She hates the fact that the men (doctors) will not just let her die and in turn she says "Out of the ash i rise with red hair and eat men like air" referring to the men who keep her alive. Raegen D

| Posted on 2009-03-04 | by raegend


.: :.

The poem lady lazarus was deep, dark and depressing. It mainly talked about committing suicide which is a terrible thing to do. People should be happy to live but this women was content with killing herself.
Jesse M

| Posted on 2009-03-04 | by a guest


.: :.

This poem is very drastic and wrong. She prolly took too many drugs this particularly time. Matt H

| Posted on 2009-03-04 | by a guest


.: :.

Plath's poem is depressing. Her references to the Holocaust are both sad and disgusting. She talks about how her attempts of suicide are like a form of art. This is an odd comparison. All Plath cares about is dying, that's all she wants to do. At the beginning of the poem she talks about her first two attempts at suicide and how it didn't work and she ends the poem with saying that she will be trying it again.
Jessica B

| Posted on 2009-03-04 | by JessicaB


.: :.

I just think that the person that wrote this poem had lots of problems and that she was dumb enough that it took her seven times to kill her self.

| Posted on 2009-03-04 | by NolanI


.: :.

I feel that Plath is not happy with her life. This is her third time attempting to commit suicide. She feels like the doctors and the other people trying to keep her alive are her enemies. Plath feels like dying is an art and the doctors are keeping her from succeeding. The overall tone of the poem is very depressing and I personally don't care for this poem.
:3 Ryanne S.

| Posted on 2009-03-04 | by a guest


.: :.

In Sylvia Plath's "Lady Lazerus" she carries a depressing tone, but her writing is very strong. Her poem is a work of art, even though its sad. In this poem, Plath compares her suicidal experiences to the Holocaust. She indirectly states that she is upset about the Jews who are being killed though they don't want to, when she wants to die and has attempted it several times and been unsuccessful each time.
Casey B

| Posted on 2009-03-04 | by caseyb


.: :.

This poem seems simple when first read, but it really has a lot of meaning behind it. It has a lot to do with religion and the poet's feelings towards men. She seems to have a lot of pain in her life, even comparing it to the holocaust.

| Posted on 2009-03-04 | by ShanaB


.: :.

This poem expresses the authors desire to end her life, and I find it quite depressing. The fact that she views the doctors and people who tried to save her as her enemies is sad. She describes the morbidity of the holocaust and relates it to herself and ends the poem with a warning of future attempts of suicide in a sort of revenge on those who keep her alive.
Sarah M. :D

| Posted on 2009-03-04 | by a guest


.: :.

Sylvia Plath's "Lady Lazarus" is a wonderfully depressing poem. Although it has a deep and powerful metaphoric allusion to the holocaust that is strongly expressed, I find it a bit superfluous. The holocaust was a terrible event of unspeakable evil that takes hold of millions of lives. This is simply not comparable to the life of one depressed women. She also claimed that "Dying is an art, like everything else, I do it exceptionally well", a little research on her life shows that she attempted suicide several times before she finally succeeded. I don't believe thats doing it "exceptionally well", if your going to do something do it right the first time.
Colton R.

| Posted on 2009-03-04 | by a guest


.: :.

Sylvia Plath's "Lady Lazarus" is a wonderfully depressing poem. Although it has a deep and powerful metaphoric allusion to the holocaust that is strongly expressed, I find it a bit superfluous. The holocaust was a terrible event of unspeakable evil that takes hold of millions of lives. This is simply not comparable to the life of one depressed women. She also claimed that "Dying is an art, like everything else, I do it exceptionally well", a little research on her life shows that she attempted suicide several times before she finally succeeded. I don't believe thats doing it "exceptionally well", if your going to do something do it right the first time.

| Posted on 2009-03-04 | by a guest


.: :.

Sylvia Plath seems desperate, she's also a little mad, crazy. She has a lot of presure from all the people surrounding her and she is playing with life/death. I think she believes that, when she dies, she will return to life stronger and seek revenge on make oppressors.
-Chad R

| Posted on 2009-03-04 | by a guest


.: :.

I feel that the overall message of this poem is that Sylvia Plath is determined to make her own choices in life. Plath compares herself to the holocaust, in that for her, living is like being tortured. According to Plath, the doctors who saved her live numerous times were her enemies, keeping her from succeeding.
Rob B.

| Posted on 2009-03-04 | by a guest


.: :.

This poem was really cool because Sylvia Plath describes how meaningless her life is and she has tried three times to end her life but has failed every time. The coolest part of this suicide poem is how Sylvia Plath relates her life to the holocaust.
Jon B

| Posted on 2009-03-04 | by a guest


.: :.

This poem is about a woman who tries committing suicide and failed three times already. she talks of her doctors being the ultimate enemy of hers, because they saved her to begin with when she did not want to be saved. Her life and the very fact that she is still living makes herself very depressed and is beyond ready for it all to end.i get the impression that something happened to her when she was just a child.

| Posted on 2009-03-04 | by a guest


.: :.

I thought this was a very realistic view on depression and suicidal tendencies.However I also believe that Sylvia Plath's likening of the holocaust to her doctors keeping her alive was a bit too dramatic.
-Mitchell E

| Posted on 2009-03-04 | by MitchellE


.: :.

I like the way this poem is written but not its meaning. The talk of suicide as an art, that kind of personification seems just to dark to imagine. But she does it exceptionally well with references to the holocaust and the line "Herr God, Herr Lucifer." Like she does not care what happens to her after death only that she dies in an artist way.
TED R.

| Posted on 2009-03-04 | by a guest


.: :.

I thought this was a very realistic view on depression and suicidal tendencies.However I also believe that Sylvia Plath's likening of the holocaust to her doctors keeping her alive was a bit too dramatic.

| Posted on 2009-03-04 | by MitchellE


.: Este Poem :.

etse poem esta cansado. no me gusta el poem's porque describer una suciadal persona. cuando la poeta triado a jugar la guitarra, hacerlo muy muchos dinero. tiene un feo miando y nessisecito visitar un mejusot de doktores de la mejores.

| Posted on 2008-04-25 | by a guest




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