“Lady Lazarus”

Free «Lady Lazarus» Essay Sample

Lady Lazarus is a poem that in my understanding is a mockery of death. The poet is a lady who uses the title of this poem as a symbol. She compares her life to that of the Biblical Lazarus who has been raised from the dead. In the first stanza she states “I have done it again” and in the seventh stanza she continues saying “And like a cat, I have nine times to die” (Plath). These two stanzas imply that she does not fear death at all since it is something that she has been practicing through an attempted suicide. The lady indicates in the fifteenth stanza, “Dying is an art….I do it exceptionally well”(Plath). This confirms the fact that she has tried taking away her life. In this regard, I believe that Plath is suicidal and taking into account that this act is unacceptable today, nevertheless, she is not afraid of it.

Plath was a very brilliant literature guru who lost a father at the age of eight (Lucas). The pain of losing the father triggered a continued life of tragedy and at one point when she was 20 years old she attempted to commit suicide which was, however, not successful. Three years later she met Ted Hughes and they got a baby (Boynton and Malin, 465).This relationship did not last because of the infidelity and as a result she got back to her suicidal habits.

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There are many parts of this poem that represents her personal life directly. For instance, she refers to herself in stanza two as “a walking miracle” (Plath). Thus, she simply marvels at how she has managed to survive after having tried to kill herself the number of times. She looks at her life as a theatrical performance which attracts crowds. The girl says in the fifteenth stanza, “It’s easy enough to do it and stay put. It’s the theatrical” and later on she continues “A miracle!’ That knocks me out” (Plath). It indicates that people always come in numbers to witness her “resurrection” after another suicide attempt has gone bad. She does not feel sorry at all about her acts as it is illegal to attempt suicide. At the end of the poem she believes that she is the greatest power that has ever been there. “Herr God, Herr Lucifer, Beware! Beware!”(Plath), she warns both higher and lower powers not to bother her since she has conquered death.

Ironically enough is the fact that a few months after writing this poem, she committed suicide after inhaling carbon monoxide from the stove. An understanding of her background plays a very vital role in helping me understand the poem more (Lucas).


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