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Analysis and comments on The Colossus by Sylvia Plath

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Comment 20 of 530, added on March 9th, 2012 at 1:30 AM.

3981Ih I loved your article.Much thanks again. Fantastic.

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Comment 19 of 530, added on September 2nd, 2011 at 10:00 AM.

It is a very gr8 poem . I loved the poem . I liked the gist of the poem .
I have no words to express my feelings .

VAIBHAVI from India
Comment 18 of 530, added on January 15th, 2009 at 7:15 AM.

I agree that daddy is very much like a sequal to this poem as many
parallels can be drawn between the two ie. she mentions in both being
broken and then stuck back together with glue except in daddy she is the
one who has become broken. Also the notion of being pieced and glued gives
a sense that it isn't completely fixed and implies a sense of permanent

Becky from United Kingdom
Comment 17 of 530, added on November 28th, 2008 at 2:44 AM.

Wow, this is an amazing poem and think it's endearing that she possibly
made a mistake by putting Roman where it seems she must really have meant

Unlike a previous reader, I am most struck by the last two lines - wow, I
want to remember those always - that no longer listening for the keel
scraping. You know you have really overcome someone when you can say that
is true. Perhaps most would say they no longer are listening for the phone
to ring or checking their mailbox. Perhaps it's overanalyzing someone from
the past - at any rate, you've given up trying to figure out the
relationship or concerning yourself with its "arrival".

Comment 16 of 530, added on November 27th, 2008 at 3:33 PM.

I love the poem of The Colossus, especially the first two lines of the
first stanza because it is very sad. She tries to put the broken parts of
the dead to bring it into life but it is effortless. She wishes to bring
the dead person, or a very dear person who disappeared and impossible to
come back to life and without him her life is impossible, can be a lost
lover, a masculine figure.

Drakhshan from Finland
Comment 15 of 530, added on January 14th, 2008 at 2:41 PM.

I do not think the thirty years should throw anyone off. She was trying to
figure him out and piece things together even before he died.

jean from United States
Comment 14 of 530, added on January 14th, 2008 at 2:23 PM.

I enjoyed getting into the background a little bit with my daughter, who
was studying the poem. She did some research and found the Colossus of
Rhodes broke into pieces 54 years after it was built, which was (about?)
the age of Otto Plath when he died. Also the fluted bones and acanthine
hair seem to be referring to broken down Corinthian columns (acanthus
leaves often adorned their capitals). Plus, of course, the reference to the
sun (the Colossus of Rhodes was a statue of Helios) and the sound of the
keel heard no more (it was the lighthouse guarding the harbor). The black
cypresses of the region also fill out the scene. Since Plath was so keen on
these details, I don't understand why she refers to a ROMAN forum, when
everything else, even the Oresteia (read "Electra complex"), is Greek.
Maybe it is because Roman discourse was known to be more "pithy", and her
father remained an enigma to her. She obviously revered him.

jean from United States
Comment 13 of 530, added on April 7th, 2006 at 5:37 PM.

Ivana, I like your interpretation/ analysis of the poem. I too see it that
way, though I mention god-husband-father. It also is interesting since
academia and literature were then very male-centric. Trying to please and
fit in makes sense. I also think many attempt to analyze a "confessional"
poet's poems through the events of her life. What matters is the lyrical
beauty and wit, at least for me. Thanks.

Lucy from United States
Comment 12 of 530, added on April 6th, 2006 at 11:58 AM.

This was the first song by Sylvia Plath I ever read, and I fell in love
with it and her poetry immediately. It's still my faovurite poem.

I generally agree with those who said that the poem is about her father,
but I don't think it's just that. Notice that she says she spent 30 years
trying to dredge his throat? Sylvia was 30 years old when she wrote this
poem. Her father died when she was about 10. So she didn't spend 30 years
trying to get to grips with his death. This enforces my feeling that this
poem is not as much about her father, the real Otto Plath, but about the
powerful male archetypical figure in her soul, her "animus", the dream
father-lover-husband figure she adores but feels opressed by, because she
cannot be free of it/him, and she cannot be happy because she doesn't have
him. This is how I felt about this poem when I first read it - and thatwas
before I had any idea about Sylvia Plath and her life. I felt it as my own
because I have never lived with my father and he never meant anything to
me, but I have been building an elusive dream male figure in my mind, you
could even say, a father/brother/lover/godlike figure.

"30 years" means that she has spent her entire life, eversince she was
born, taking care of that figure. After her father dies, she has been her
trying to re-build it.

Another thing I have to point out: I, too, felt, that she tended to blend
her father (or rather, her memory of him) and her husband, as seen in
"Daddy". But she wrote Colossus before she married Hughes, so "married to
shadow" had nothing to do with her marriage or his subsequent infidelity.
She is married to shadow because she has been living in the shadow of this
powerful male figure she has created in her mind, and she is "married"
(that is, she has tied her life to) a shadow - an elusive, unreal figure, a
ghost, an illusion.

"Daddy" is in a way a, a sequel to The Colossus. Here she was sadly
thinking about her life of memories and dreams, in "Daddy" she was full of
rage after her attempt to recreate this dream (her love and marriage to
Hughes) had fallen apart.

Ivana from Yugoslavia
Comment 11 of 530, added on March 5th, 2006 at 10:55 AM.

I think Frede's comment is being misconstrued. I feel she is being
sarcastic. As for spelling, she is probably not a native english speaker.

Lucy from United States

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Information about The Colossus

Poet: Sylvia Plath
Poem: The Colossus
Volume: The Collected Poems
Year: 1959
Added: Feb 20 2003
Viewed: 607 times
Poem of the Day: Jun 12 2006

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