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A Critical Analysis of Sylvia Plath’s Mental Illness Revealed in her Poems A Critical Analysis of Sylvia Plath’s Mental Illness Revealed in her Poems The severity of misandry or ‘hatred for men’ in Sylvia Plath’s poems often allures her readers to go through the full-length of her biographies in search of any psychological traumas, wounds or complexities that might engender the furies of Plath’s narrators…
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The existence of Sylvia Plaths mental illness
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Download file to see previous pages The feminine self that Plath often explores in her poems is permeated with an autocratically free zeal which fiercely struggles for more breath under the choking grip of her male counterpart and ferociously victimizes her male foes. In an article “Mad Poets Society”, Alex Beam confirms that Plath began to develop schizophrenic syndromes and manic depression at the age of twenty. He says in this regard, “At the age of twenty, Plath experienced mild depressions while studying at Smith” (Beam 98). But a close psychoanalysis of the evidences in her poems as well as her life-events will necessarily reveal that her mental illness -schizophrenia and manic depression- can directly be connected to her experiences of her father Otto Plath and her husband Ted Hughes. In this paper I will explore the evidences of Plath’s real-life mental illness in Plath’s poems and stories. Also this paper will discuss whether Plath successfully uses her mental illness to her advantage, or whether she dissociates from it. When Plath was eight, Otto “developed gangrene in one foot after minor trauma and was found to have late stage untreated diabetes mellitus” (Cooper 4). ...
Secondly, it was the end of a male authority and restriction under which Plath’s young feminine had been panting. This “death at such a young age for Plath had some sort of a belated effect on her mental health” (Dyer 5). Referring to the complexity of Plath’s relationship with her father, Ling notes, “Plath herself faces a confusing relationship with her father, whom she lost to diabetes at quite an early age….Her need to please her father remains with her even to her death, as she was unable to exorcise the hold of this strange, authoritarian figure over her” (2). Later, this emotional complexity about her father further got aggravated by Ted Hughes’s extramarital affair as well as academic failure. Consequently, her literary works show an abundance of schizophrenic symptoms. Apart from Plath’s inability to think rationally, a good deal of her poems displays the paroxysmal and spastic emotions like burning anger, hatred and wrath against her father and her husband. ‘Daddy’, ‘Lady Lazarus’, ‘Colossus’ ‘Full Fathom Five’, etc are some of these poems which displays her real-life schizophrenic symptoms. Indeed Schizophrenia is a “mental disorder that makes it hard for the patient to a. tell the difference between what is real and not real, b. think clearly, c. have normal emotional responses, and d. act normally in social situations” (Freudenreich 23). In ‘Daddy’, Plath’s hatred for her father obviously surpasses her rationality. She successfully portrays and then disparages a patriarchal ‘father-figure’ “in which [she] have lived like a foot / For thirty years, poor and white, / Barely daring to breathe or Achoo” (Plath, “Daddy”). It is quite normal for a feminist to take any patriarchal authority ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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