The vampire's victim

Essay by alexandruUniversity, Bachelor's March 2004

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The poem "Daddy" by Sylvia Plath is a dramatic and allegoric scene of suffering and turmoil endured by Plath's character while fighting against the destructive forces embodied in her vampire-father and vampire-husband. Axel catalogues the character as the replica of a person who suffered the Elektra complex: "Here is a poem spoken by a girl with an Elektra complex" (51). As the readers gradually move through the poetry, we feel the heroine intense, spiritual living. Also we confront the Father-God figure, the Father-Nazi figure, the Father-Vampire figure and finally, we confront the Husband-Vampire figure. To create this last image, Plath takes not only the vampire's bloody side into consideration but she also describes the vampire's destructive force exerted over the speaker: "You do not do, you do not do / any more black shoe / In which I lived like a foot / For thirty years, poor and white" (Plath 1-4).

However, as Kroll remarks, "The first half of the poem describes the heroine and her spectacular act" (120), while the second part is successively replaced by the vampire's role (in different forms). Moreover, Plath creates the vampire's double identity by playing with the poem's words: sometimes to refer to her father and sometimes to refer to her husband. As the classical vampire, who uses blood for pleasure and for survival, the vampire from her poem resembles all these "qualities." Although the vampire is a parasite, he is the one in control and also the one who makes the rules (in the first part of the poem).

The first twelve stanzas of the poem are dominated by the childhood image of her father, "which persists into adulthood" (Nance 125). Her father's dominance is recollected not only from her memories but also from her real experiences. He is described as a...