‘Daddy’ is a poem included in the book Ariel, written by Silvia Plath. The poem is framed within the so-called confessional stream, with an autobiographical character, a reflection of the chaos and suffering experienced by the author. ‘Daddy’ is a poem that reads like an exorcism. It can also be understood as an expression of the Father-Daughter relationship.
Plath in the poem reflects the hatred he feels toward the father figure, his desperate attempt to kill his father’s memory, the need to get rid of his past, the black shoe, represents that father figure. Pejorative adjectives are used by the writer, to describe ‘Daddy’ as “Marble-heavy”, “ghastly statue”, “devil”, etc.
Silvia Plath, in her poem, equates her father’s attitude with German supremacy, finding the German language as ‘obscene’ to represent herself, the writer, as a different person declares herself Jewish. If you go deeper into the poem, you will see that Plath, the writer, expresses, externalizes and dramatizes his anger and wildness for killing his father. Father who always made Silvia, the writer, feels inferior and weak.
‘Daddy’ illustrates a detailed description of the conflicts between the writer and her father. In each of the stanzas of the poem, Silvia Plath, gradually discover all her repressed feelings for years towards her arrogant and malefic father. The poem ‘Daddy’ does not reflect the details of how, when and why his feelings of contempt and animation towards his father arose.
Paradoxically, Plath reveals his feelings for the man she worships during her youth, despite his destructive influence after his death. ‘I used to pray to recover’ and ‘At twenty I tried to die and respond’ (line 14, 63-64). Father, statue, teacher, gestapo officer, husband and vampire, are the male characters in the poem, written by Silvia Plath, that illustrate and recreate negative characteristics, arrogant and evil spirits. When Plath is comparing him to a vampire, she remembers how he drank her blood for a year.
The father appears as a powerful, strong and restrictive figure, something like a god. On the other hand, the female character is limited and unable to lead a full life for the sexist society where she is. When Plath said that ‘every woman worships a fascist, the boot in the face, the brute, the gross heart of a brute like you’ is using irony by representing the stereotype of most women who are with abusive men, thus showing the inequality between men and women. This irony justified that violence was natural.
‘Daddy’, the poem by Silvia Plath, describes that the true power of men is to make women give in and bow to male hegemony. Turning this dominant behavior of man into a pattern of the natural order of the world. It is usually visible in sadomasochistic images that make women responsible for their own additional role.
Women are made for wise people to guide them (you stand on the board, dad). The poem ‘Daddy’ refers to women as emotional, tragic and prone to suicide when they feel lonely and depressed. On the other hand, he refers to men as rational. Once the differences between men and women have been described, unfair relationships between them are reflected. They also get the father figure to be seen as the devil (a cleft in the chin instead of his foot / But not least a demon for that).
The poem is full of the feeling of suffocation that the female character feels towards her father and husband. In the poem ‘Daddy’, Plath criticizes male aggression and declares men responsible for all social injustices. The narrator describes discrimination against women, but in the end she points out that women are free from these limitations.
The relationship with her father is complicated, confusing and ambiguous. Plath wants to be close to her father since he has some affection for him. However, the negative aspects of their relationship seem to almost consume how good it is. Plath calls his father ‘daddy’ instead of father, since this word gave a touch of affection and closeness to the relationship between both. The writer in her poem shows that she wants to connect with her father when she says she has a picture of him and then says: ‘At twenty I tried to die and come back, come back, come back to you’ (53-54) ‘By establishing a parallel between Hitler and the Jews and she and her father, she implies that her relationship with her father is oppressive and cruel.”