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Ariel by Sylvia Plath
The Ariel-period poems of Sylvia Plath demonstrate her desire for rebirth, to escape the body that was "drummed into use" by men and society. I will illustrate the different types of rebirth with examples from the Ariel poems, including "Lady Lazarus," "Fever 103," "Getting There," and "Cut."
"Lady Lazarus," the last of the October poems, presents Plath as the victim with her aggression turned towards "her male victimizer (33)." Lady Lazarus arises from Herr Doktor's ovens as a new being, her own incarnation, "the victim taking on the powers of the victimizers and drumming herself into uses that are her own" (33). Linda Bundtzen also sees the poem as "an allegory about the woman artist's struggle for autonomy. The female creature of a male artist-god is asserting independent creative powers" (33). Plath confronts Herr Doktor:
Herr God, Herr Lucifer
Out of the ash
I rise with my red hair
And I eat men like air. (Plath 246-247)
Lady Lazarus after her psychic death became stronger than her creator: " Male- female antagonism ends with the woman defiantly asserting power over her body and releasing its energies for her own ends" (Bundtzen 233). While the outcome of the poem is positive, "Plath turns on herself, identifying with her oppressor, and sadistically punishes her body in the process of
recreating it" (Bundtzen 237).
Plath did not see the rebirth process as a pleasant experience, but one that is expected of her "...