Daddy By Plath

Plathís poem "Daddy" describes her feelings of oppression from her
childhood and conjures the struggle many women face in a male-dominated society.

The conflict of this poem is male authority versus the right of a female to
control her own life and be free of male domination. Plathís conflicts begin
with her father and continue into the relationship between her and her husband.

This conflict is examined in lines 71-80 of "Daddy" in which Plath
compares the damage her father caused to that of her husband. The short stanzas
containing powerful imagery overwhelm the readers forcing them to imagine the
oppression that the speaker went through in her short life. The tone of this
poem is that of an adult engulfed in outrage and who oftentimes slips into a
childlike dialect; this is evident when the speaker continually uses the word
"Daddy" and also repeats herself quite often. The last two stanzas of
the poem, especially, portray a dismal picture of life for women who find
themselves under a dominating male figure. The passage seems to show that the
speaker has reached a resolution after being kept under a manís thumb all her
life. In lines 71-80 the speaker compares her father and her husband to vampires
saying how they betrayed her and drank her blood--sucking her dry of life. She
tells her father to give up and be done, to lie back" (line 75) and in line

80, she says, "Daddy, daddy, you bastard, Plathís attitude towards men is
expressed in this passage through her imagery of the villagers stamping and
dancing on the dead vampire. The speaker says "If Iíve killed one man,

Iíve killed twoĖ" most likely meaning that all men are the same and
ridding the world of one is equivalent to ridding the world of both. She is also
killing off the mature childish ideas of her father being her husband (Electra
complex), and ridding herself of those feelings. In line 72, "The vampire
who said he was you / and drank my blood for a year / seven years, if you want
to know" describes her husband and the ability of male power to strip a
woman of her sense of self. (Plath was married to her husband for seven years
during which he had an affair with another woman.) He has drained her by
drinking her blood, or figuratively sucking the life out of her. In line 75,

Plath states, "Daddy, you can lie back now," as if to say the damage
is done. "Thereís a stake in your fat black heart and the villagers never
liked you," is relevant to the image of vampires because stabbing them with
a stake to the heart is the only way they die. The villagers can be thought of
as another persona for Plath who has gotten over her resentment of her father
and now has just decided to forget about him. "They [the villagers] are
dancing and stamping on you. / They always knew it was you," is almost
ambiguous because it is not clear whether Plath is directing this to her husband
or her father. If to her father, it means that she has figured out that it was
her father in Tedís place all along and subconsciously Plath knew that and
didnít want to believe it. Yet, in the last line, it is clear that Plath was
able to resolve.