Daddy by Sylvia Plath: Introduction

The poem Daddy by Sylvia Plath is a feminist poem which was written about her father's sudden demise. The poem is also partly autobiographical. Because the poet herself, has said that the 'daddy' of the poem is her own daddy.

Sylvia Plath (1932-1963)

But, we should not take it only in that rather narrow sense, because we can clearly see that the poem is more psychologically significant than it is autobiographical. In an autobiographical sense when she was eight years old her father died, letting her struggle to this world. She could not have fatherly protection at her neediest time. So her subdued anger to her father is burst out in this poem. Psychologically, the poem is an outlet of the mad anger of the speaker. On the surface of the poem, we see that the speaker hurls a series of verbal assaults against her father. She goes to the extent of scolding her father as a ‘bastard’. But on a deeper level of meaning, the image of daddy is the symbolic male who has oppressed the female throughout history; more generally, it is also the symbol of all destructive and tyrannical forces maintained by the males – war, genocide, atrocity, and so on. Her poetry is notable for its controlled and intense treatment of extremely painful states of mind. She is the great exponent of the poetry of neurosis. Though the stuff of Plath’s poetry is neurosis (full of delusions, guilt feelings and odd complexes), her poems are not neurotic. They are carefully executed expression of neurosis.

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Sharma, Kedar N. "Daddy by Sylvia Plath: Introduction" BachelorandMaster, 27 Apr. 2014,