Posts Tagged ‘Team Plath’

Ooooh, who’s that lady…Lazarus? ;)

Monday, March 11th, 2013

All right, I’m gonna be really original and blog about the piece we discussed in class today, just like everyone and his/her mother has already done…

Just a couple of religious/lingfuistic things I wanted to bring up in class that we didn’t really have time to address:

  • Lucifer rhymes with Crucifer. Not significant for the poem’s purpose, but I love wordplay and this just occurred to me.
  • Speaking of wordplay, the last line, “I eat men like air” takes on a whole new meaning if we substitute it for “I eat men like Herr”–! In and by consuming men AND deities, the speaker becomes the monstrous “dark power” that has the power to destroy and rise all the more powerful regularly…every ten years, to be exact.
  • Jesus raised Lazarus in the Bible…who is “raising” the speaker here? By “performing her own miracle,” is she, as she describes, becoming Jesus, i.e. God?

Just some stuff to mull over…

Plath’s “Lady Lazarus”

Monday, March 11th, 2013

I’m going to argue that the “you” Plath is referring to is her husband, Ted Hughes.  Furthermore, I think that the Nazis are also a metaphor for Hughes.  I say, this entire poem is about Hughes!

Obviously, there were many problems in Plath and Hughes’s marriage.  And Plath certainly doesn’t shy from using Nazis to represent OTHER male figures in her poetry (i.e “Daddy”), so why can’t these Nazis be Hughes?

I read the “spectacle” part of this poem as how the speaker feels when her husband looks at her, or comes on to her.  There he is, munchin’ on his peanuts and chillin’ as she “undresses” and tries to make a marriage and a real relationship… as she tries to make her life work!

Because Plath was obviously very well educated, I don’t even think it’s a stretch to suggest that the “dying” in this poem is a pun a la the Shakespearean meaning of dying, i.e. having an orgasm, or even just being intimate with her husband.

I got the Hughes vibe especially in the last few stanzas, if you care to take a look.  (“HERR ENEMY”!!!)

Or a piece of my hair on my clothes.
So, so, Herr Doktor.
So, Herr Enemy.

I am your opus,
I am your valuable,
The pure gold baby

That melts to a shriek.
I turn and burn.
Do not think I underestimate your great concern.

Ash, ash—
You poke and stir.
Flesh, bone, there is nothing there—-

A cake of soap,
A wedding ring, (!!!!)
A gold filling.

Herr God, Herr Lucifer

Out of the ash
I rise with my red hair
And I eat men like air.


Did anyone else sense this layer of meaning? Or am I the only one?