I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions.
Whatever I see I swallow immediately
Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike.
I am not cruel, only truthful —
The eye of a little god, four-cornered.
Most of the time I meditate on the opposite wall.
It is pink, with speckles. I have looked at it so long
I think it is part of my heart. But it flickers.
Faces and darkness separate us over and over.

Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me,
Searching my reaches for what she really is.
Then she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon.
I see her back, and reflect it faithfully.
She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands.
I am important to her. She comes and goes.
Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness.
In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman
Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Sylvia Plath's poem Mirror

72 Comments

  1. veena kumari M says:

    this poem is very beautifull and great.it says how it is importent to our life as well as functins also,it says real characters of human lifes and womens and mirror is a one kind of polestar,that mean sometime we are miss behave and wrong ,,,that time it shows the reality,what we does? so mirror is importent.

  2. rosa says:

    Saved me from failing a class.

  3. Poliop says:

    Pickachu is the mirror. And he will drown in in a lake, as he says. Also, he thinks your an old women.

  4. mritunjay singh says:

    what a fantastic poem it is describing that at one time we all will suffer by this age. like old women in this story

  5. nancy says:

    the theme of the poem is really true because when i read this poem first time i just was thinking about my future.one time is comes when i become old and old like others .

  6. Jyoti Soni says:

    It has given me inspiration as i am a girl and in future perhaps i will also face this situation.A mirror is always truthful as it reflects the reality of life…

  7. Sushil Kaushal says:

    The Poem is very moving. It reflects nothing else but truth. I like it for telling the truth at the face without being emotional. The lady should not feel bad and instead face the reality of ageing process without fear.Comaprison to the God is not far fetched.It is real.

  8. Sharm says:

    I agree with Nirav Devnani.”Mirror” reflects a very simple idea of change.

  9. binay says:

    my matric english teacher told me she had
    a miscarriage so I think the last two lines refer to her baby daughter dying inside her, drowning, and everyday she feels old and terrible, remembering everyday her faults as a woman

  10. Kirsten says:

    does anyone else think that the woman in the poem is looking into the mirror in search of herself? because from what i’ve read about plath as a person she suffered from an identity crisis of sorts and her search in the mirror could have to do with her search for self. any comments would be appreciated

  11. chandramouli.billa says:

    this is very good and better poem and it saying truthful whenever we are seeing our face in the mirror. I’am thanking you to written this poem

  12. Joe says:

    Interesting interpretation though there is no need to be so smug “Ste UK”.

    What amuses me about what you have typed is that you have the cheek to comment on Americans but as a Brit you have terrible grammer.

  13. just sayin says:

    hey WHOA Ste UK, american’s can be pricks but i think it is time to get over this little grudge you have on america and not judge every single person you sunovabitch

  14. javier robles says:

    What is the meaning of the last two lines???

    I don’t want to know what they mean,
    I want to know why she put them last and how it effects the rest of the poem.

  15. Brittany says:

    i’m doing a presentation in my engligh 3 class and i have read so many outlooks on this poem. it totally stinks its really stupid but i do understand it and plath is absolutley crazy

  16. Lotti says:

    Is anyone else doing A Level English? If so, I just got the pre-release material and this is one of the texts! So basically I have till Tuesday to research and know all there is to know about it. I love it but it’s quite ambiguous.

  17. Ste Uk says:

    From what I have read so far all people from the US have failed to recognise that ‘like a terrible fish’ is not a reference to an illusion of a fish bowl as some clever person put it (Erin US) it refers to Narcissus and Echo. Narcissus was enthralled by his reflection so much from what he seen in the river that his mental state deteriorated and he eventually killed himself. And guess what Sylvia Plath done 3 days before valentines day? she killed herself would you believe, shocking or what. We Brits are glad to save you americans (as usual)

  18. David says:

    In my opinion, ‘Mirror’ seems to be focused upon a couple of key ideas:
    Firstly, Plath concentrates on the process of aging, which is catching up with her; however we must all remember that she was only 29/30 when the poem was first published (I think), so not old by any means. I take the idea of aging not just on a physical level, but also as a result of her concern over her achievements during her life; “In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman / Rises towar her day after day” – and she appears depressed as to what she has achieved (“Searching my reaches for what she really is.”) Plath wishes to be lied to by “the candles or the moon” as it seems as if the truth is unpalatable to her.
    Secondly, I believe that she is reacting at the way in which the world is centred upon materialstic designs, for instance for women to look good. Therefore, “each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness”; the protagonist continues to want to make herself look good, despite her advancing years, in order to fit in with society’s demands. The mirror is described as “a little god” which seems to support the idea of its importance to women as a whole. It can also be interpretated as self-condemnatory in this light, as Plath still feels the need to fit in with what the world wants, despite the fact she recognises how futile such actions are.
    A poem which shows a women who certainly seems to have been rather depressed upon its publication, an issue which seems to ring throughout, but a great poem nonetheless.

  19. elis says:

    mirror is exact,it swallows whatewer it sees,it is true,has no preconceptions;the mirror resembles itself to an eye of god from these respects.darknes and faces are hardships of life,problems,difficulties.they cut mirror’s wision.in the tenth line we see the word of lake and at the last line the symbol of fish.they are conected with each others.mirror is a lake and this girl searces herself in it but at the end she’s stunned,terrified,scared.this woman looking herself in the mirror prefers liers;candles or moon.we see our defects in the sun light because it showa realities.but when it is dark,and only a little light,we can see ourselves perfect,witout any defect.she does not want to accept the truths,the realities of herself,of life.however she pretends to deny the realities,she still goes to see them!this is a contras.she is old now,and not wanting to be old she prefers liers,just like us when want to see things only from our own windows.

  20. elis says:

    in this poem we see reflections of plath’s own.she was in depression while writing it.she must be confused,confused because of some realities maybe,or getting old makes her to think like that.there are a lot of metaphors in ‘mirror’.also we see mitological references from greek mits;a person who lowes himself so much that,while looking at his reflection on the lake he falls to the water and dies…i really like this poet,she is one of america’s best modern poet i think.

  21. Tina says:

    At first I was confused but, now I am not. I am taking my final exam on this poem and, I think it is the greatest thing I ever read and I am glad I chose Mirrow to do it on. I do believe it was a young girl not wanting to age but realizing she has no choice. I myself am a poem writer but, I write about others not myself. But Plath was my girl I love very much. Nice job

  22. Larkin says:

    I absolutly loved this poem…it is so sad that her suffering can suface so much interest, i love all of her poems and i wish she were here to write more…

  23. Dan says:

    I think Anne Sexton was on way too much drugs and smoked herself retarded. Talk about being half baked. She definitely is a sex addict!

  24. Ellie says:

    Just wanted to mention that in my lit class we compared this poem to a section in Margaret Atwood’s “Surfacing” and it made both even more powerful.

  25. jamilla says:

    i just read this poem in english to, i loved it so much i wrote a paper on it for my other class public speaking.

  26. Hannah says:

    I think that the beauty of all Plaths poetry comes from the fact that one, no matter what their personal experiences, can relate. There is a truthfulness that is undeniable. Each time i read this i fall in love a little bit more

  27. Jade says:

    It seems to me that there is always something lurking in the distance, something hidden beneath the surface wanting to escape. A supressed demon longing to appear in all her poems. It is in ‘Mirror’ we see the serpent inside her longing to escapy. The mirror in which she is referring to is, in my opinion, Plath herself. Strong, well presented, reflecting what she is meant to be in this world, well structured and refined. The woman in this poem is the mirrors own reflection of its self. Reflecting not the inside but scearch for something for something else. This ‘terrible fish’ featured at the end of the poem is th ‘mirror-woman’s’ suppressed demon beginning to surface. This ‘terrible fish’ may also be brought back to another one of Plath’s unknown poems, ‘Medusa’ where she talks about her mother. The un-naturalness of both these images are linked. Mirror is a very deep poem. The words are the surface but when you dive beneath the surface you begin to understand a totally different meaning.

  28. Erin says:

    When the mirror compares itself to a lake, i had this visual image of a lake until it speaks of the fish my mind shifts the image to a fish bowl and like when examining the tiny world inside one comes face to face with a fish, almost mirroring this unfathomable life staring back at you and u wonder what it is thinking at seeing u starting at it as it comes from the other side of the looking glass. Perhaps the terrible fish is a comparison to the girl looking into the mirror and not understanding the image behind the glass and wondering what that image sees even though it is only a reflection and not an actual person… and therefore the mirror even though it is completely unbias shows the reflection, the mirror sees a confused woman looking into it as if thinking the image is thinking something…just as humans are always judging themselves even when they are not being judged by the mirror

  29. y54thy says:

    cool poem

  30. victoria says:

    amazing poem. absolutely beautiful.

  31. Gino tiu says:

    Though different interpretations are very much valid, it is always essential to go back to the text as some of credibility check. As for me, I guess the beauty of the poem mainly emanates from its balatant simplicity that depicts the natural process of aging the search for one’s true self. Note that the poem is rife with such realization, which are further heightened by the use of personification and some relevant symbolisms (e.g. mirror, lake, candles, moon), which are very much suggestive as they are.

  32. Claire says:

    I’m not sure that she is looking at herself, she is the mirror (she is exact)that is to say that perhaps she has no identity. In the second stanza the woman she is in the present kills the child she was and the old woman she will be. She has no past and no future. I guess the poem reflets a deep pain, a despair. (No hopes, no remembrance).
    She is always looking at the others but whitout any feelings ans Plath even puts distance between her and them “faces and darkness seperate us over and over” . And at the very end, she is looking for a guide (“candles or the moon”) but they are ephemeral (candle=weak flame, moon= only the reflection of the sun). The comparison with the fish maybe means that she has only eyes to see but without any feelings (she is looking at herself, she, the artist is looking at herself, the weak woman.)
    I love this poem.
    😀

  33. morgan says:

    I have read alot of skepticism at the use of the fish at the end of the poem. This is just a guess of course, becuase she can not go back in time and ask Sylvia herself, but maybe in using the fish she makes old age seem rotten and that rot rises to her, day after day, like the smell of a rotten fish and it gets worse everyday.

  34. p says:

    Joannes question about the fish – in my interpretation, Plath is again describing the change the woman has gone through from a young person looking into the mirror and become an older person still looking into the same mirror. The reference to a ‘terrible fish’ helps this as a fish’ skin brings about the effect of it being scaly. Plath is trying to convey an image that the old woman mentioned in the previous line is no longer young or smooth, a terrible fish has been formed, a changed and older person has grown while looking in the same mirror throughout the years.

  35. Holly DS says:

    i’v just studied this poem in english class and i love it!i think everyone can relate to the things plath is talking about in the poem!a true work of genius!it really describes the way we all feel when we look in a mirror!

  36. Brownie says:

    Don’t you think that Sylvia Plath’s poem reflects a bit of all of us. She is just Human and this poem shows her deep feelings. Everyone once in a while cares about what they look like and wants to catch a glanze at themselves. I think this poem is very expressive. Don’t you think everyone has they’re own mirror type of mirror?

  37. Feet says:

    In my opinion, Sylvia Plath’s poem, ‘Mirror’, is a poem about a woman who wants to be, or wants to believe she is, beautiful. She is torn between being who she is and the want of changing herself. She keeps coming to the mirror to see her reflection, as we are told by ‘I am important to her’, but she is never satisfied, as is shown by the fact that after seeing her reflection, she has ‘tears and an agitation of hands’. We sense her frustration in two ways. The first is the fact that she looks at herself in a lake as well as in the mirror because she is unsatisfied with what she sees. This could also symbolise the fact that though she runs from the truth, she can’t escape it because she sees mirrors everywhere. The second is shown when ‘she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon’. Candles and the moon are generally thought to hide imperfections due to their dim and gentle light. The mirror therefore perceives them as liars because they deceive the woman of the way she actually looks. The woman however knows that she doesn’t really look like that so she turns back to the mirror and ‘rewards (it) with tears’. Also, we see that the woman misses her youth in the last two lines of the poem, ‘in me she has drowned a young girl and…an old woman rises towards her…like a terrible fish’, the first person in that line being the mirror. The ‘terrible fish’ could also represent death, which draws nearer as the woman gets older.
    The mirror in this poem could symbolise the truth since it describes itself as ‘not cruel, only truthful’ and ‘the eye of a god’, showing that it is all-knowing and honest. ‘The eye of god’ also suggests that the mirror has some sort of power over her because she keeps coming back to the mirror although she does not like what she sees.

  38. alkhenbeshi says:

    I belive that every one can has his or her own veiw in analyzing poems,and we can not say that this or that point of view is rong becouse when a person read a poem, he will have his own feelings towards that very poem. in my opinion eventhough sylvia plath had maybe some mental or psycological problems she was a great poet who had the ability of reflecting her personality through her poems. So in this poem I think that she is talking about herself

  39. rocky says:

    What’s going on with all these people criticizing other people comments? Give your opinion about the poem, and that’s that. If I want your opinion about the comments I made then I will ask you. Is that fair?

  40. Anne says:

    Hey all listen i really need help analyzing mirror could you help me out? i just need to know what metaphors are used, what rythm the poem has and how onomatopoeia is used please let me know if you know the answer as soon as possible thankyou!

  41. Clytemnestra says:

    People, at least try to say something intelligent. (I’m talking to you Kavita and Heather) “Oo, this poem rocks! It kicks ass!” In comments like yours is the degeneration of education. On another note, I think Kathleen is right on the money, and I think the ending about the fish is a metaphor for her image of an old woman. Maybe she’s comparing her aged visage to a fish.

  42. Kavita says:

    I’ve liked this poem because it shows the reality in life.Nobody can hide his or her true images.Here the poet is showing her fears of ageing.A mirror shows us our true appearance.This poem makes me reflect a lot.

  43. heather says:

    Plath’s poem Mirror is in a way how she thinks about her self but it is still a very good poem that she had wrote and i LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  44. tina says:

    I enjoy this poem alot, this very poem is what got me interested in Slvia Plath.Through the poem “Mirror” Plath expresses herself through the mirror. In certain lines she shows that she is dissapointed in herself and doesn’t want to get old.

  45. SELVIE FEBRIANIE says:

    well, I really like this poem. I had used this poem as a presentation material in my poetry class, and it was wonderfil. The lecturer was very impressed. I had a good learning from this poem and more knowlegde about Sylvia.I think she describes herself as a mirror.I just want to read this poem again and again.

  46. Nicole Z. says:

    I would just like to thank Jenny Shungu from the U.S. for offering such an extensive analysis on this poem. I’m not not that great at interpreting poetry. After I read this poem, I analyzed it myself and wanted to compare mine to others analysises. I find many simalarities between mine and hers. I will sure take her ideas and mix them in with mine. Thank you very much!

  47. Joanne says:

    I think the peoem is ruined by its abrupt, and quite honestly, random ending. I have read all the comments on what the ‘fish’ is supposed to be and don’t really see any of them as viable if anyone has any isights i would much appreciate them, especially with the end of a poem being so important.

  48. Kathleen says:

    This poem is important. It is clear, and though it may be a metaphor for her life or her personal experiences such as suicide attempts or her husband’s infidelity, it can also be taken at face value. The fact that it can be enjoyed on both levels allows it to reach out to a wide audience, which makes it a true success.

  49. belinda says:

    you guys are disgusting and disrespectful. mirror is a beautiful poem about love, lies, truth and self esteem.

  50. Xoidsfh says:

    Did anyone else feel like a wank after eading this poem

  51. Jenny Shungu says:

    ylvia Plath was born in Boston in 1932, and she passed away in 1963. Although she lived a very unique lifestyle Sylvia Plath became a very well known respectable poet. Plath published her first poem at the age of eight. She suffered from a serious mental illness, and committed suicide at the age of thirty. She wrote many poems, but the ones selected by her late husband Ted Hughes were published in 1985. Among the poems that were selected was one of her most famous piece called Mirror.
    The poems Mirror is about a women looking to a mirror for its truthfulness when searching for her true identity.
    The mirror in the poem symbolizes truth. Truth is a powerful tool in the piece. The mirror is cold and sharp like its touch. When you look into a mirror you only see what is there, the phase “Whatever I see I swallow immediately”2 supports my statement. If a person has flaws a mirror will be straight forward and display them with no hesitation “Searching my reaches for what she really is”11. In the first stanza, the “I am not cruel, only truthful”4 phrase reveals the mirror’s personality and charter. Unlike humans a mirror cannot judge her with opinions. Sylvia Plath uses onomatopoeia to give the mirror human characteristics. On line five she writes “The eye of a little god, four-cornered” which shows that the mirror is given God-like powers over the women. It becomes almost an obsessive relationship between the mirror and the women because she looks to the mirror for comfort only to confronted with the truth about your youth wasting away.
    The mirror triggers conscious and unconscious memories of her life faithfully. On line thirteen it reads “ I see her back, and reflect it faithfully” once again showing that truthful charter of the mirror. Regardless of the fact she hates her reflection the women becomes dependent on the mirror, and on line fifteen you can see that relationship were it saws “I am important to her. She comes and goes”15. The phase “I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions”1. Shows that a mirror is not capable of showing anything else, then what is put in front of it. The mirror shows no color and has no preference.
    Although the mirror revels reality the women still clings to objects that blind her from the truth. In the second stanza, the phases“Then she turn to those liars, the candles or the moon”12 shows that the women is attempting to hide her flaws behind the darkness. It is very clever that Sylvia Plath used the candles and moon light in this poem because those two items usually are used for romance. While searching for her identity she contradicts herself by running away from the truth, instead of embracing it.
    Even away from the mirror the woman is forced to face reality through nature. The lake is very similar to the mirror because they both reveal the women’s true identity and honest reflection. Plath uses a metaphor to refer to the candles and moon as lairs because they just reveal shadows, and they only show half of the big pictures. The candles and moonlight don’t give the exact truth like the mirror. The candles and moon are just distractions to finding the essential self. The candle and moonlight show her a deceptive delusion by hiding winkles, dentures, hair loss, and weight gain.
    The phase “Now I am a lake”10 reveals the transformation of the mirror. The women then realizes even outside of her home she can’t escape the truth. It is obvious that she is unhappy with her reflection. On line fourteen it states “She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands”, which implies that she is aging, and it is difficult for her to except the aging process with open arms. While she is crying the mirror sees it was a reward and has no sympathy. The women misses the youth and beauty of the young girl she was. On line seventeen it states “In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old women”17. It is very difficult for the women to go though the aging process because she feels depressed and insignificant.
    The last line of the poem reads “Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish”18, indicates that she feels insecure about her reflection. It is interesting that Plath choose a fish instead of any other animal. When Plath used a lake in place of a mirror she may have needed a creature that lived in a lake to compare her feeling of living in the mirror. She is trying to make to point that a fish depends on water the same way the woman depends on the mirror. Usually fish are very glamorous animals because they come in all different shapes and sizes, but the women in the poem contradicts that stereotype. She sees herself as a something terrible because of her fading beauty. Sylvia Plath suffered from depression and had very little compassion for herself. This poem shows how she was sacred from the truth the mirror was showing her. Throughout this poem there is a theme of the truth and lies. The poem Mirror is about a women torn between the true picture of herself and the distorted image others see of her.

  52. Amber says:

    I think this is a beautiful poem which doesn’t have to be over analyzed. What I like to do is just sit back and enjoy the beauty of it.

  53. Lenore says:

    I noticed as I read on the comments were a wee bit upset with the professor. Although I must agree with him. Without reading “The Bell Jar” or her Bio you are going to take a poem and reflect it toward your life’s emotions and strife or you will try to analyze with what you do know about her. In “The Bell Jar” there is a entire explanation about the mirror. She had attempted her first suicide with sleeping pills in the crawl space of her home. She took too many which saved her life. (she vomited them up). She was there for 3 days before she was found. In the hospital she talked a nurse into giving her a mirror. The nurse refused at first then finally let her have it. At the sight of herself swollen, bruised and bald she dropped the mirror and broke it. She ended up in a mental institution undergoing shock therapy. Which would explain the bottom portion of the poem. I have noticed in my independent study of Plath she basis most of her writings on her own life and strife. Cueing in actual events. Once you’ve read the “Bell Jar” which I recommend and more vivid bios her works make so much more sense in aspect to her herself. Hope this cleared up some of the fogginess. After reading this comment, reread the poem. See what you think.

  54. Victoria Lucas says:

    I believe that the “Mirror” is about Ted Hughes representing the mirror and Sylvia Plath herself as the woman. He’s not “cruel, only truthful–” and powerful over her “the eye of a little god, four-cornered”. He does not wish to become closer to her, merely letting darkness and people come between them. The lake has no big thing, only that it is equivalent, for it reflects. Sylvia is the woman, giving up her past and her future for him. Oh, how I luv symbolism! (Yes, I know I am that UK nerd…)

  55. becky says:

    lance bass – just because you’re a professor don’t think you know everything! i believe it’s about her experience in the psychiatric hospital. the woman she refers to is her mother – “she rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands. i am important to her, she comes and goes” read the bell jar and you will see 🙂

  56. Dasha says:

    If you think about it, at one point or another, haven’t we felt this way; just like the mirror or the woman. You know that Sylvia is not talking about a mirror, but maybe about herself of as someone else said, her husband. But why take this poem and analyze it? Why not look at it and say, ‘wow, that really can relate to me’. Isn’t that what poems are for? Haven’t you ever felt that way?

  57. Katie Berard says:

    I think this poem is great I have never read a poem that touched me. I think it is great that we all read the same thoughts of someone who is passed so long and interpret it so differently…i wonder what she intended us to think. I just know it meant a lot to me and I hope she is happy where she is now:)

  58. MARIA says:

    I believe she was feeling the effects all women feel going from gorgious twenties two thirties loosing the attention of the room when entering it. And dealing with that.

  59. hope says:

    Being N PROFESSOR DOES’NT MEAN YOU CAN SEE INTO SOMEONES SOUL ON WHICH SHE POURED ON TO HER PAGES.

  60. Ang says:

    This poem is about whatever reaction it had on the reader. For your reports, talk about your personal reaction along with some facts, because poetry isn’t just about whatever the professor thinks (lance bass).

  61. nuckin scoots says:

    This poem is off the hizzle shizzle no fo rizzle man………. NAw dawg just playin u know that dissle and way This poem has great comments thanks for helping me with my report

  62. Arjun Ajit says:

    I liked this poem very much because I never thought in the view of a mirror.
    This poem is just simply great and I have a great respect towards the poet who had written this poem.

  63. Arjun Ajit says:

    I liked this poem very much because I never thought in the view of a mirror.
    This poem is just simply great and I have a great respect towards the poet who had written this poem.

  64. Lance Bass says:

    This poem is merely about a mirror, no more. i know, i’m a professor.

  65. Tony says:

    The poem is about Sylvia’s life adn death.

  66. Elizabeth L.J. says:

    Reading this poem makes you take step back on how women feel about their slowly aging features as they grow older. Why does the feeling spread throughout each elder? I guess it’s just expected.

  67. Sarah says:

    Don’t read too much into the poem. Over-analyzing it takes away from it’s initial sting; a beautiful sting. Life is already so complex on its own, let us not ruin the simplicity of echoing verse.

  68. Hou Xiaojing says:

    This poem is a good poem worth reading again and again,but it’s not so complex as many people say,mirror represents her father, herself ,even her husband.Some people even mention the hints of her death,it’s impossible,the poem is written in 1961 and she died in early 1963,her husband betrayed her in 1962. So I think the theme of this poem is just to show how important the appearance is to the women,mirror,lake(may be a basin of water for her to wash her face in the morning)don’t tell lie,they have the same function of telling truths,they are all personified to indicate women’s fear and depression of aging,to reflect women’s embarrassment in a world, where youth and beauty is valued.

  69. cadance says:

    I believe that in this poem the mirror is actually Sylvia’s husband. She compares the mirror to ‘the eye of a little god’ meaning that he believes that he is better than her. The poem also talks about the mirror never getting to close (mediate on the opposite wall). It seems as though since she has been with him so long that they are in love, but it is not the case. Faces and darkness seperate them (affairs and buisness). The lake in the second verse is her escape, it could be drugs, other men or alcohol. She goes everyday thinking that it will help her but it ends up making her more and more depressed. The terrible fish is her rotting marriage and her failed attempts to hide her misery.

  70. Rebecca says:

    I found this a very hard poem to grasp, i am in yr 11 and studying this and found it very confusing because it has so many menaings, however my own opinion it that it shows the mirror being truthful and what it is emnat to but then when the woman [sylvia i believe] looks into she can no longer hide the truth that she is ageing, however she keeps going to this mirror or the lake that is in representation of a mirror in hope that she might have changed. This poem is very dark and very depressing and i believe is what is drawn upon from her own depression on life snd the sadness she went through wihch finally led to her suicide sadly. What i love about this poem though is how she uses the moon and the candles which i believe represent love, and how she uses them to show all the lies she has had in love before and she goes to the mirror in search of truth. Overall this poem was very intriging and eventually it was a good read but i dread it being on my final test paper!!!!

  71. tulika mukerjee saha says:

    the poem personifies the mirror beautifully, at first describing its honest depiction of what truly is. it also mentions that when the woman is not looking at it it is dark. The poet compares its crystal clearness with a clear lake water disturbed only at times with the woman searching her face. The woman is distraught at signs of old age. To the mirror, she is a fish disturbing the calm lake surface.

  72. Megan gearhart says:

    I disagree I believe that she is looking into the mirror seeing all her truths and knows that the mirror will not lie to her back. It symbolizes her failures in life which Sylvia thought she had many. However, for the second part of the poem i took that the women now looking in the mirror was about all women and how they were not free to be accepted in the world and were pulled down by the male restraints in society. And also at the very end of the poem I felt as though she was talking about the fish coming out of the water being that of her father, because a fish is hidden under the water, but always has the ability to reappear. And i don’t believe that Sylvia is implying that she is scared of the darkness of death, hence, she commited suicide.

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Do you have any comments, criticism, paraphrasis or analysis of this poem that you feel would assist other visitors in understanding the meaning or the theme of this poem by Sylvia Plath better? If accepted, your analysis 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.