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Sylvia Plath’s 1965 poem “Daddy” deals mostly with the concepts of deception and betrayal. The pain and fear that her father has inflicted upon her causes the betrayal that she feels from him. She blames her feelings of betrayal on her father. She acts out her feelings through angry acts and rage towards her father.
Plath begins the poem discussing her feelings of betrayal with the statement, “You did not do, you did not do,” (504). As stated by M. D. Uroff, “But if Daddy will not do, neither will he not not do, and we find this speaker [Plath] forcing herself to deal with a situation that she finds unacceptable.” Plath was clearly afraid of her father; she states in the poem, “Barely daring to breath or Achoo,” (504) and “I have always been afraid of you,” (505). She also shows that fear of him by her inability to communicate with him, “I could never talk to you,” (504). Robert Boyer’s explains her fear by stating, “The internal repression which prevented her from communicating with her father becomes simultaneously the more general barriers to communication, which traditionally have kept victims and oppressors apart.”
As a child Plath sees her father as a god; “A bag full of God,” (504). “Not God but a swastika,” (505) shows her transitioning him from a Godly figure into a Natzi. She refers to him as “Panzer man” (505) and also states, “With your Luftwaffe,” (505). “The father’s precipitous fall from a deity to evil incarnate sets up the poems denouement,” states Jordon Leondropoulos. Not only does she call him a “Natzi,” but a “brute,” “fascist,” “devil,” and a “vampire.” “The speaker [Plath] here can categorize and manipulate her feelings in name calling,” explains U. D. Uroff. She uses the name-calling to mask her pain caused by the betrayal of her father.
While she calls her father a “Natzi,” she refers to herself as a “Jew;”...
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