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Analysis and comments on Lady Lazarus by Sylvia Plath

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Comment 29 of 139, added on January 19th, 2009 at 2:11 PM.

This poem is a total threat towards the male construct of society. Lazarus
regained his life (mentioned in New Testament) for the bless of Jesus
Christ. Christ loved Lazarus who was ill and when he was dead the Jews were
mourning. Jesus came and gave him back his life and he came out of the
tomb. Lazarus was a victim of illness and Sylvia is the victim of male
chauvinism. Lazarus resurrected as a phoenix among the jew and Plath
reincarnated as a jew among the Nazi's. This 'Nazi' represents the
oppression of male dominated society. It can also refer to Ted Hughes, the
British poet and her husband (who was accused of stealing Plath's poetry).
She understands the problem lying behind this society, the custom of
manipulation done by men towards women. And, certainly, an ambitious poet
like Plath cannot stand this subjugation of women in the society. So, she
rises. Like the red feather of Phoenix, she rises from ash with red hair.
This rise is the rise of woman intellect. It is a revolt against male
domination. Here, she has the strength to deny men's manipulative
strategies and rise beyond them. The ash represents her experience that
becomes her inspiration to fight. This experience gave her the sight to
know men's weakness and thus she becomes stronger. She 'eat them like air':
she eliminates their pride, she even threatens to eradicate their
existence. At the end of the poem, Plath celebrates and elevates the vigor
and potency of women.

There is also a confessional approach, Plath is expressing her real life
suicidal attitude at the beginning of the poem. But she also relates this
tedency with the theme of regeneration of women with greater power and
ambition.

Golam Rabbani
Lecturer, Eastern University
Dhaka, Bangladesh

Golam Rabbani from Bangladesh
Comment 28 of 139, added on June 11th, 2008 at 10:26 AM.

The imagery used throughout the poem is associated with the treatment of
the Jews by the Nazis in concentration camps during World War II. Plath
addresses the inhumanity of the situation, using such phrases as "A cake of
soap,/A wedding ring,/A gold filling" to represent a human being. Plath
also alludes to the medical experimentation that was practiced by the Nazi
doctors. Plath has often been criticized for relating her hardships to that
of the Jews. After all, she grew up in a relatively stable and affluent
home and received an excellent education; her suffering was in her mind.
Plath said specifically that her poems had come:

out of the sensuous and emotional experiences I have, but I must say that I
cannot sympathize with these cries from the heart that are informed by
nothing except a needle and a knife, or whatever it is. I believe that one
should be able to control and manipulate experiences, even the most
terrifying, like madness, being tortured, this sort of experience, and one
should be able to manipulate these experiences with an informed and
intelligent mind. I think personal experience is very important, but
certainly it shouldn't be a shut-box and mirror-looking, narcissistic
experience. I believe it should be relevant, and relevant to the larger
things, the bigger things such as Hiroshima and Dachau and so on.

Reza from Sweden
Comment 27 of 139, added on June 11th, 2008 at 10:22 AM.

The imagery used throughout the poem is associated with the treatment of
the Jews by the Nazis in concentration camps during World War II. Plath
addresses the inhumanity of the situation, using such phrases as "A cake of
soap,/A wedding ring,/A gold filling" to represent a human being. Plath
also alludes to the medical experimentation that was practiced by the Nazi
doctors. Plath has often been criticized for relating her hardships to that
of the Jews. After all, she grew up in a relatively stable and affluent
home and received an excellent education; her suffering was in her mind.
Plath said specifically that her poems had come:

out of the sensuous and emotional experiences I have, but I must say that I
cannot sympathize with these cries from the heart that are informed by
nothing except a needle and a knife, or whatever it is. I believe that one
should be able to control and manipulate experiences, even the most
terrifying, like madness, being tortured, this sort of experience, and one
should be able to manipulate these experiences with an informed and
intelligent mind. I think personal experience is very important, but
certainly it shouldn't be a shut-box and mirror-looking, narcissistic
experience. I believe it should be relevant, and relevant to the larger
things, the bigger things such as Hiroshima and Dachau and so on.

Reza from Iran
Comment 26 of 139, added on January 29th, 2008 at 2:28 PM.

Sylvia Plath almost killed herself when she was ten by accident. In the
first stanza she declares that she tries to commit suicide every ten years.
"I have done it again. One year in every ten." When Sylvia was 20 she
attempted suicide for the first time(first because she was trying to kill
herself the second time). Lazarus as was previously mentioned is biblical
alussion to Lazarus who was reserected by Jesus. She was found in a crawl
space under her house and was brought back from the brink of death. She
refers to "a Nazi lampshade" which were rumored to be made out of the skin
of people who were murdered in the concentration camps. This was put in the
poem to show that her internal and mental suffering was as great as that of
the physical suffering of the people in concentration camps. This poem was
written one year prior to her second suicide attempt. Sylvia succeeded in
killing herself in her second attempt. She sealed her children's door shut;
covering every crack with a towel. She then set out breakfast for her kids
when they would wake up in the morning. She proceeded to put her in her
oven and turn on the gas and killed herself.

Vin from United States
Comment 25 of 139, added on December 27th, 2007 at 9:45 AM.

i'm not much into poetry but i love this one. i'm always interested in
something i can relate to. this poem was quoted in the movie sylvia and i
think it's about suicide. always tryin to finally end it at all but the
title lazarus suggests of keep coming back.

joan from Philippines
Comment 24 of 139, added on April 25th, 2006 at 8:03 PM.

someone may have written this already but i don't believe this is about
feminist ideals at all. i can clearly see from this poem that this is most
likely sylvia equating her death with lazarus and equating her suffering
with the holocaust. she was brought back from the dead like lazarus and
didn't want to be, and also her foreshadowing is quite apparent. she
obviously places suicide as a piece of art--capitalizing "Number Three" as
if it is actually a piece of artwork? she is burning inside like the jews
were burning in concentration camps, and i believe this may be one of (if
not the best) of plath's poems.

sue from Denmark
Comment 23 of 139, added on April 17th, 2006 at 9:31 AM.

I thought that the reference to Lazarus was biblical - Lazarus, the brother
of Martha and Mary, who was brought back from the dead by Jesus. Comments?

S G from India
Comment 22 of 139, added on March 19th, 2006 at 9:14 AM.

LADY LAZARUS

This poem is about a vulnerable person, sylvia, who despite being
strong/immortal? was vying for the blessing of others. e.g. father/ Ted
Lazarus relied on another to be raised.
So despite the seeming anger/strength individuality in the author there was
never that true autonomy /independance.
The suicide attempts reflect this hopelessness at achieving self worth
independant of the man.
Hence the last line: and i eat men like air
men being likened to an eternal/essential thing
YET not sustaining to 'eat'
so an inappropriate relation to men/

please post on LAZARUSpoem analysis for me* the page is down on my server

Anna Regan from United Kingdom
Comment 21 of 139, added on February 12th, 2006 at 9:06 AM.

this poem is by far one of my favorites i was able to analyze this very
easily and even connect with it on a deep level. i love poems about suicide
and depression for a couple of reasons one i can relate to them and 2 i
like poems that are riddled with emotion. i feel the deeper the more pain
or compassion the better it connects with the reader on many levels. i love
this poem if only the great sylvia plath was here today to see how far her
work has come

tarya from United States
Comment 20 of 139, added on January 25th, 2006 at 3:32 PM.

It is by far the greatest poem I've ever read. I believe that she made a
lot of contributions to the feminist movement and therefore she deserves a
place in history books,

Fernando from United States

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Information about Lady Lazarus

Poet: Sylvia Plath
Poem: Lady Lazarus
Volume: The Collected Poems
Year: 1962
Added: Feb 20 2003
Viewed: 3949 times
Poem of the Day: Jul 27 2011


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