Acts of Resistance in Sylvia Plath's "Daddy," "Lady Lazarus," and "Ariel": A Journey from Oppression to Emancipation

Esra'a Jamil Qazzaz




This paper analyzes three of Sylvia Plath's poems, “Daddy,” “Lady Lazarus,” and “Ariel,” in which some images of women's oppression and their acts of resistance are highlighted and illustrated from feminist and social perspectives utilizing Scott’s theory of “Everyday Resistance.” Women are presented as the victims of patriarchy whose repressive condition is compared to the depersonalized condition of Jewish prisoners in the concentration camps of the Nazi in "Daddy" and "Lady Lazarus," and to Lady Godiva, who was exploited and humiliated by her husband, in "Ariel." The paper examines some “practical” and “symbolic” tactics of resistance the female speakers in the three selected poems follow to overcome the patriarchal hegemony over their subjectivity and to gain a sense of self- identity and autonomy, such as the metaphorical murder in “Daddy,” the striptease performance and suicide in “Lady Lazarus” and the journey in “Ariel.” The paper follows the development and change of the female speakers and shows how they move from being passive recipients of exploitive patriarchal actions to being active agents of resistance. 



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