Analysis of Ode; Intimations of Immortality
Ryan J. Cox
September 15, 2014
Analysis of Daddy by Sylvia Plath
This is a dramatic poem that has 16 stanzas with five lines per stanza. The poem has free verse quintains with some internal as well as end rhymes. It was written in October of 1962, only a few months before Plath was found dead after committing suicide (Wagner-Martin and Stevenson). The poem is about a girl expressing her negative emotions towards her father, resulting in a bitter tirade against him and his memory.
Plath's father, Otto, is compared to many different figures throughout the poem. He is described as a fascist, a devil, a brute, a German, and a gammadion cross. Most of these images are negative attributes. When she compares him to a German, the image could have a neutral meaning, but in this poem, it is more connected to the Nazis.
Plath lived through World War II during the time that her father passed away, according to the Poet Organization, he died in 1940 (Wagner-Martin and Stevenson). She knew what the Nazis during World War II had done. For her, the Nazis, the gammadion cross, and the German were images of destruction, hunger for power, and of only wanting to control the people around them with fear.
At one point in the poem, she mentioned that she was scared of her dad (41). She compared him to a fascist because she thinks of him as authoritarian. She even compared him to a "tank-man," (line #) meaning that he is able to crush thing along his way and throw metaphorical bullets. She is making reference to her father as creating a hole in her heart, hurting her feelings, also sees him as a symbol of power,