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Literature11 - The Poetry of Sylvia Plath: Poem: Daddy

Daddy by Sylvia Plath (1962)
Daddy was written on October 12th 1962, a month after Plath had separated from her husband and moved—with their two small children—from their home in Devon to a flat in London. Four months later Plath was dead, but she wrote some of her best poems during that turbulent period. 

POEM: "Daddy" by Sylvia Plath

About the Poem

‘Daddy’ by Sylvia Plath uses emotional, and sometimes, painful metaphors to depict the poet’s opinion of her father and other men in her life.

This poem is vastly considered as one of the pinnacles of Plath’s poetic achievements. The brutality of her verse and raw anger as the poem progresses is impossible to ignore. You have to split out the words as you read, Plath infusing her poem with such fury that it bubbles tumultuously under each line. Daddy addresses Plath’s father after his death but is not a poem of mourning. Instead, Plath details their complex relationship, drawing upon dark imagery of the holocaust to represent her own entrapment.

Period: 20th Century

Nationality: American

Themes: DeathIdentity

Emotions: SadnessPain

Topics: OppressionAbuseDeath of a Father

Form: Free Verse

Genre: Confessional

Sylvia Plath, “Daddy” from Collected Poems. Copyright © 1960, 1965, 1971, 1981 by the Estate of Sylvia Plath. Editorial matter copyright © 1981 by Ted Hughes. Used by permission of HarperCollins Publishers.


Biography: Sylvia Plath [Rated PG, Duration: 45:20]

The 'Biography' series presents of the tragic life of the brilliant young poet portrayed by Gwyneth Paltrow in the movie, 'Sylvia'. Plath published her first poem by the age of eight. She suffered a nervous breakdown and later depression, taking her own life in 1963.

SOURCE: History Channel, (26th July, 2005) ClickView,