Poets | Bookstore | Poem of the Day | Top 40 | Search | Comments | Privacy
August 1st, 2014 - we have 234 poets, 8,025 poems and 171,812 comments.
Analysis and comments on The Rival by Sylvia Plath

[1] 2

Comment 12 of 12, added on November 7th, 2013 at 10:08 AM.
I

This poem makes my pants tighter

Khyum from Fiji
Comment 11 of 12, added on October 24th, 2013 at 10:24 AM.
The Rival

This poem really triggered emotions ive never felt before. I cried for 10
minutes after reading this piece of literary brilliance, I agree with Ajay,
this poem completes my life. Sylvia

Ahmad from United Kingdom
Comment 10 of 12, added on October 24th, 2013 at 10:20 AM.
yes

I agree with Ajay, i cried too

Ahmad from United Kingdom
Comment 9 of 12, added on November 7th, 2011 at 6:31 PM.

I understand the different perspectives of it being based on Aurelia and
Ted Hughes but I keep getting drawn to the different references.

"Making stone out of everything" alludes to Medusa yet "Spiteful as a
woman" confuses that idea and "through the mailslot with loving regularly"
links back to Aurelia.

Is that her mother is not human enough to be referred to as female or is
Plath addressing both individuals here?

George from Australia
Comment 8 of 12, added on April 14th, 2010 at 3:37 PM.
Mother

Despite what she truly based the explosion of emotion in this poem about,
The only meaning any self respecting reader can gleam from it is that of
her depression at her mother's always too high expectations, She finds her
mother smothering like "Carbon Monoxide", she always must have the final
say "Light-Stealer" And the constant stream of pestering her mother gave
her whilst Sylvia lived in England, a volume of letters so large, her
mother published them as a book, Hence: "No day is safe from news of you"

My theory: She is either directly speaking of her mother, or personifying
her mother as death itself, as im sure her mother assisted in her
unfortunate death.

Thank you if you read this far.

Amdrew Bartlett from United Kingdom
Comment 7 of 12, added on January 21st, 2010 at 6:36 PM.

i think this poem is mainly about ted and how she feels towards him.

sarah from Australia
Comment 6 of 12, added on September 22nd, 2008 at 7:33 AM.

It seems as if people weren't looking into the background of Plath enough
to find this poem is based on her friend (her husband's friend's wife)
Didio Merwin as is "Face Lift" it makes more sense if you see this poem
based on D Merwin and her husband.

ShaiKhai from United Kingdom
Comment 5 of 12, added on June 2nd, 2008 at 3:11 PM.

I saw this poem as Plath's way of counting the increasing distance between
Ted and herself. In the poem, I felt there was reference to Medusa in the
line "And your first gift is making stone out of everything." I gave a
sense of coldness and led well into her prison/death sentence of being
trapped in his "mausoleum." I'd like to count this poem as more of a
mockery and expression of anxiety towards her husband more than anything.

Emily from United States
Comment 4 of 12, added on April 16th, 2006 at 8:07 PM.

Line 11 should have the word abases, not abuses.

Amanda from United States
Comment 3 of 12, added on February 28th, 2006 at 12:01 PM.

I think the poem is about her relationship with Ted. He was a follower of
Robert Graves and there are a number of references in both writers works in
regard to the Moon and it's reference to mythology.
"I wake to a mausoleum" is refering to Ted, she often referred to him as
"Stone Man". He was becoming increasingly distant and her poems during
this time were an attempt to put her finger on what was going on.

Lorie Davies from Canada

This poem has been commented on more than 10 times. Click below to see the other comments.
[1] 2
Share |


Information about The Rival

Poet: Sylvia Plath
Poem: The Rival
Volume: The Collected Poems
Year: 1961
Added: Feb 20 2003
Viewed: 2898 times
Poem of the Day: Jan 13 2005


Add Comment

Do you have any comments, criticism, paraphrasis or analysis of this poem that you feel would assist other visitors in understanding this poem better? If they are accepted, they will be added to this page of American Poems. Together we can build a wealth of information, but it will take some discipline and determination.

Do not post questions, pleas for homework help or anything of the sort, as these types of comments will be removed. The proper place for questions is the poetry forum.

Please note that after you post a comment, it can take up to an hour before it is visible on the website! Rest assured that your comment is not lost, so don't enter your comment again.

Comment on: The Rival
By: Sylvia Plath

Name: (required)
E-mail Address: (required)
Country:
Show E-mail Address:
Yes No
Subject:
Poem Comments:

Poem Info

Plath Info
Copyright © 2000-2012 Gunnar Bengtsson. All Rights Reserved. Links | Bookstore