Dad, father, old man, pa, papa, pop, daddy: there are a lot of names for paternal figures, with a lot of different connotations. While some are more formal, some are more affectionate, and some are more causal, they all mean essentially the same thing: the man whose DNA courses in his child's veins and/or the man who raised, cared for, and loved a child. Sylvia Plath's 1965 poem 'Daddy' deals with her own father figure, but the relationship discussed in the poem differs drastically from the connotations inherent in the title. 

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Table of contents

    'Daddy' at a glance

    'Daddy' Summary and Analysis
    Publication Date1965
    AuthorSylvia Plath


    Free Verse Quintains



    Rhyme Scheme


    Poetic Devices

    Metaphor, symbolism, imagery, onomatopoeia, allusion, hyperbole, apostrophe, consonance, assonance, alliteration, enjambment, repetition

    Frequently noted imagery

    Black shoe, poor and white foot, barb wire snare, Dachau, Auschwitz, Belsen concentration camps, blue Aryan eyes, black swastika, Red heart, bones, vampires


    Angry, betrayed, violent


    Oppression and freedom, betrayal and loss, female and male relationships.


    The speaker is addressing her father. She has an ambivalent relationship with her father and all men, at once looking up to her father and hating the control he has over her life even after his death. She decides she must kill his influence over her life in order to feel true freedom.

    AnalysisThe poem is autobiographical, as it reflects Plath's own experiences with her father, who died when she was eight years old. Through the use of intense and sometimes disturbing imagery, Plath explores her complicated relationship with her father and the impact his death had on her life.

    'Daddy' by Sylvia Plath

    'Daddy' was included in Sylvia Plath's posthumous collection Ariel, which was published in 1965 two years after her death. She wrote 'Daddy' in 1962, one month after her separation from husband/poet Ted Hughes and four months before she ended her own life. Many doctors now believe that Plath had bipolar II disorder, characterized by a period of high energy (manic) followed by a period of extremely low energy and hopelessness (depressive). It was during one of her manic periods in the months before her death that Plath wrote at least 26 of the poems that appear in Ariel. She wrote 'Daddy' on October 12, 1962. It examines the complicated relationship with her father, her husband, and, in general, all men.

    Daddy, Gravestone with "father" epigraph, StudySmarterFig. 1 - 'Daddy' is Plath's exploration of her relationship with her father, who died when she was eight years old.

    'Daddy': biographical context

    Sylvia Plath had a complicated relationship with her father. He was a German immigrant who taught biology and married one of his students. He was diabetic but ignored the signs of his failing health, believing instead that he had an incurable lung cancer because one of his friends had recently passed due to cancer. He put off going to the hospital for so long that by the time he did seek medical help his foot had to be amputated and he died from the resulting complications. Plath was 8 years old, but his death led her to a lifelong struggle with religion and masculine figures.

    Her father was reportedly cruel and despotic, but Plath loved him deeply and was forever affected by his death. When she married fellow poet Ted Hughes, who turned out to be abusive and unfaithful, Plath claimed that she was trying to reunite with her father by marrying a man similar to him.

    She wrote 'Daddy' in 1962, 22 years after her father passed away. Her complicated relationship with her father as well as his untimely death likely contributed to the severe depression that she began exhibiting in college. She unsuccessfully tried to kill herself twice (once by sleeping pills and again in a car accident) before she poisoned herself with carbon monoxide using her kitchen oven. In 'Daddy,' Plath writes that her suicide attempts, like her failed marriage, were her way of trying to reunite with her absent father.

    'Daddy' poem by Sylvia Plath

    You do not do, you do not do

    Any more, black shoe

    In which I have lived like a foot

    For thirty years, poor and white,

    Barely daring to breathe or Achoo.

    Daddy, I have had to kill you.

    You died before I had time——

    Marble-heavy, a bag full of God,

    Ghastly statue with one gray toe

    Big as a Frisco seal

    And a head in the freakish Atlantic

    Where it pours bean green over blue

    In the waters off beautiful Nauset.

    I used to pray to recover you.

    Ach, du.

    In the German tongue, in the Polish town

    Scraped flat by the roller

    Of wars, wars, wars.

    But the name of the town is common.

    My Polack friend

    Says there are a dozen or two.

    So I never could tell where you

    Put your foot, your root,

    I never could talk to you.

    The tongue stuck in my jaw.

    It stuck in a barb wire snare.

    Ich, ich, ich, ich,

    I could hardly speak.

    I thought every German was you.

    And the language obscene

    An engine, an engine

    Chuffing me off like a Jew.

    A Jew to Dachau, Auschwitz, Belsen.

    I began to talk like a Jew.

    I think I may well be a Jew.

    The snows of the Tyrol, the clear beer of Vienna

    Are not very pure or true.

    With my gipsy ancestress and my weird luck

    And my Taroc pack and my Taroc pack

    I may be a bit of a Jew.

    I have always been scared of you,

    With your Luftwaffe, your gobbledygoo.

    And your neat mustache

    And your Aryan eye, bright blue.

    Panzer-man, panzer-man, O You——

    Not God but a swastika

    So black no sky could squeak through.

    Every woman adores a Fascist,

    The boot in the face, the brute

    Brute heart of a brute like you.

    You stand at the blackboard, daddy,

    In the picture I have of you,

    A cleft in your chin instead of your foot

    But no less a devil for that, no not

    Any less the black man who

    Bit my pretty red heart in two.

    I was ten when they buried you.

    At twenty I tried to die

    And get back, back, back to you.

    I thought even the bones would do.

    But they pulled me out of the sack,

    And they stuck me together with glue.

    And then I knew what to do.

    I made a model of you,

    A man in black with a Meinkampf look

    And a love of the rack and the screw.

    And I said I do, I do.

    So daddy, I’m finally through.

    The black telephone’s off at the root,

    The voices just can’t worm through.

    If I’ve killed one man, I’ve killed two——

    The vampire who said he was you

    And drank my blood for a year,

    Seven years, if you want to know.

    Daddy, you can lie back now.

    There’s a stake in your fat black heart

    And the villagers never liked you.

    They are dancing and stamping on you.

    They always knew it was you.

    Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I’m through.

    'Daddy' poem by Sylvia Plath: analysis

    Let's take a look at some analysis of Plath's 'Daddy'. The poem is often examined as an autobiographical account of Plath's relationship with her own father. There are striking similarities between the speaker in 'Daddy' and Plath herself. For example, both the speaker and Plath lost their fathers when they were young: the speaker was 10, and Plath was 8. They also both attempted suicide, and they were both with their husband for roughly 7 years.

    However, since this is poetry and not a diary entry it is important to remember that the speaker and Plath are not one and the same during literary analysis. The confessional style of poetry does allow Plath to include a lot more of her personal feelings and identity, but when we refer to literary devices and themes in the poem, remember that we are referring to how this affects the speaker.

    Symbolism in 'Daddy' poem

    That father-figure in 'Daddy' seems like the ultimate villain. He's depicted as Nazi-like, indifferent to his daughter's suffering, a brutish fascist, and a vampire who needs to be put down. But as bad as the speaker's father sounds, most of that is symbolic. He wasn't literally a vampire or a morally "black" man who "bit his daughter's heart in two" (55-56).

    Instead, the speaker uses all of this brutal, haunting imagery to symbolize how awful her father was. But the way the father is constantly changing from one shape to another tells readers that "daddy" represents more than just the speaker's papa. In fact, the way "daddy" morphs to encompass both the father and the speaker's vampiric husband towards the end of the poem shows that "daddy" is actually a symbol for all men who want to control and oppress the speaker.

    The speaker says, "Every woman adores a Fascist" (48) and "If I’ve killed one man, I’ve killed two" (71), essentially lumping all domineering, oppressive men into the figure of "daddy." While most of the poem seems to be very specific to one man, the speaker's use of collective nouns like "Luftwaffe," "they," and "every German" showcases that this is more than just a vendetta against one man. "Daddy" definitely symbolizes a bad father, but he also symbolizes the speaker's complicated relationship with all the men in her life who tell her what to do and make her feel small.

    Symbolism: one person/place/thing is a symbol for, or represents, some greater value/idea


    The speaker uses a LOT of metaphors to build the image of her father. First, she calls him "black shoe / In which I have lived like a foot / For thirty years" (2-4). This calls to mind a silly nursery rhyme, but it also depicts how the speaker feels trapped by his overbearing presence. The darkness of the metaphor deepens when she says he's dead, but he's "Marble-heavy, a bag full of God, / Ghastly statue with one gray toe" (8-9). But her father as a statue is huge and covers the entirety of the United States.

    Even though the father is dead, his influence still makes the daughter feel trapped, and his image still looms larger than life over her. How impactful does a person have to be that after 20 years their grown daughter still feels scared, trapped, and intimidated by a dead man's memory?

    In lines 29-35, the speaker uses the image of a train taking Jewish Holocaust victims to concentration camps to compare her relationship with her father. She says, "I think I may well be a Jew" (35) and she knows she is on her way to a concentration camp. While she is a Jew, "daddy" is the Luftwaffe and she tells her father: "I have always been scared of you,... / your neat mustache / And your Aryan eye, bright blue. / panzer-man, panzer-man, O You—" (42-45).

    In this historically haunting metaphor, the speaker is saying that her father wants her dead. He is the perfect German man, and she is a Jew who will never be seen as his equal. She is a victim of her father's cruelty. In lines 46-47 the speaker switches quickly between a metaphor of her father as God to one of him as a swastika, the symbol of the Nazis: "Not God but a swastika / So black no sky could squeak through." Her father has shifted from this all-powerful, divine figure to a symbol of evil, greed, and hatred.

    Plath has come under a lot of criticism for using something as horrific as the Holocaust to compare to her personal struggles. What do you think of Plath's inclusion of the Jewish struggle? What effect does it have on you, the reader? Does it diminish what the Jewish people actually suffered at the hands of the Nazis?

    A new metaphor takes prominence in the last few stanzas of the poem. This time, the speaker is comparing her husband and her father to a vampire: "The vampire who said he was you / And drank my blood for a year, / Seven years, if you want to know" (72-74). This shows that the influence her father has had in her life merely shifted, perpetuating the cycle of toxic, manipulative men.

    In the last stanza, the speaker regains control of the metaphor: "There’s a stake in your fat black heart / And the villagers never liked you. / They are dancing and stamping on you" (76-78). This shows that the speaker finally killed the influence of her father and husband. She feels empowered in this decision by "the villagers" who could be her friends, or maybe they're just her emotions that tell her she did the right thing. Either way, the dominating metaphors of the male figures are murdered, leaving the speaker to be free to live without carrying their weight any longer.

    Metaphor: the comparison of two unlike things not using like/as

    Daddy, Male vampire sucking the blood of his female victim, StudySmarterFig. 2 - Vampirism is a crucial image in the poem 'Daddy' for how men have drained Plath.


    The imagery in this poem contributes to the dark, angry tone of the poem and allows the metaphors mentioned above to expand over multiple lines and stanzas. For example, the speaker never explicitly says that her father is a Nazi, but she uses plenty of imagery to liken him to both Hitler and Hitler's idea of the perfect German: "And your neat mustache / And your Aryan eye, bright blue" (43-44).

    The speaker also uses imagery to depict how her father's influence looms larger than life. In lines 9-14 she says, "Ghastly statue with one gray toe / Big as a Frisco seal / And a head in the freakish Atlantic / Where it pours bean green over blue / In the waters off beautiful Nauset. / I used to pray to recover you." The imagery here depicts how her father stretches across the entirety of the United States, and the speaker is unable to escape him.

    This section contains some of the only lines that have beautiful, light imagery with the blue waters. They stand in stark juxtaposition to the next few stanzas where Jewish people are tortured in the Holocaust.

    Imagery is descriptive language that appeals to one of the five senses.


    The speaker uses onomatopoeia to mimic a nursery rhyme, depicting how young she was when her father first scarred her. She uses words like "Achoo" sparingly throughout the poem but to great effect. The onomatopoeia tunes readers into the mind of a child, making what her father does to her even worse. It also paints the speaker as an innocent throughout the poem: even when she's at her most violent the reader is reminded of her childhood wounds and can sympathize with her plight.

    The onomatopoeia in "Ich, ich, ich, ich," the repetition of the German word for "I" (her father's main language) demonstrates how the speaker stumbles over herself when it comes to her father and was unable to communicate with him.

    Onomatopoeia: a word imitates the sound that it is referring to

    Allusion and Simile

    The poem uses many allusions to World War II to position the speaker as a victim against her father, who is depicted as a dangerous, merciless, brutish man. She uses similes to directly compare herself to a Jew in WWII, while comparing her father to a Nazi. For example, the speaker compares herself to a Jew, being taken away to "Dachau, Auschwitz, Belsen" (33), concentration camps where Jews were worked to death, starved, and murdered. She uses a simile to make the connection more prominent, saying "I began to talk like a Jew. / I think I may well be a Jew" (34-35).

    Her father, on the other hand, is a Nazi: he is cruel and will never see her as an equal. But the speaker never directly says the word Nazi; instead she alludes to it, saying "your Luftwaffe, your gobbledygoo. / And your neat mustache / And your Aryan eye, bright blue. / Panzer-man, panzer-man O You—— / ...a swastika... / Every woman adores a Fascist" (42-48). The Luftwaffe was the German air force during WWII, the mustache is a reference to Adolf Hitler's famous mustache, the Aryan eyes refer to Hitler's "perfect race," the panzer was a Nazi tank, the swastika was the Nazi symbol, and fascism was Nazism's political ideology.

    Later, the speaker again uses an allusion to Nazi ideology when she says her husband is a model of her father, "A man in black with a Meinkampf look" (65). Mein Kampf was the autobiographical manifesto written by Nazi-leader Adolf Hitler that detailed his political ideology and became the bible of Nazism with the Third Reich. The speaker is anticipating that readers will know Mein Kampf so they will understand the fascist, radical nature of her husband. Positioning herself as an innocent, defenseless Jewish woman helps readers sympathize with her over her Nazi-esque father and husband.

    Though not an allusion to WWII, the speaker uses simile once more towards the beginning of the poem to showcase how much of her life her father has taken up. She says his toe alone is "Big as a Frisco seal," (10) a reference to San Francisco, while his head is "in the freakish Atlantic" (11) on the other side of the country.

    Simile: the comparison of two unlike things using like/as.

    Allusion: a figure of speech in which a person, event, or thing is indirectly referenced with the assumption that the reader will be at least somewhat familiar with the topic


    The speaker uses hyperbole to show how small and insignificant she feels in relation to her father who has taken up her entire life. This is first implied when she calls her father a shoe and herself the foot that is stuck inside it. If he's big enough to completely overshadow her, and she's small enough to be tucked away inside him, there is a significant size difference between the two.

    We see just how big the father is when she compares him to a statue that has overtaken all of the United States. She says, "Ghastly statue with one gray toe / Big as a Frisco seal / And a head in the freakish Atlantic / Where it pours bean green over blue / In the waters off beautiful Nauset" (9-13). He doesn't just follow her around like some incessant fly, instead he has claimed the entire country.

    To the speaker, the father is larger than life. He is also evil. She later compares him to a swastika, now a sign associated with the atrocities committed by the German Nazi party, saying "Not God but a swastika / So black no sky could squeak through" (46). If the sky is hope or light, then his influence is enough to completely blot any of those good feelings out. "Daddy" is larger than life and all-encompassing.

    Hyperbole: An extreme exaggeration not meant to be taken literally

    Daddy, Statue with toe as big as a Frisco seal, StudySmarterFig. 3 - The image of the statue with a toe as big as a Frisco seal emphasises the overbearing presence Plath's father has on her life and thoughts.


    Apostrophe is used in lines 6, 51, 68, 75, 80, every time the speaker directly talks to daddy. Daddy is used throughout to show how big of a force the father figure is in the poem. The reader knows that he's dead, but the fact that the speaker is still thinking about him enough to fill up 80 lines of poetry means he has had an incredible impact on the speaker's thoughts.

    Although the entire poem is dedicated to "daddy," before the last line, the speaker only says "daddy" four times throughout the first 79 lines in the poem. But in line 80, she uses "daddy" twice in quick succession: "Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I’m through." This heightens the emotions that she feels towards her father and also ends the poem on one final note. This time he isn't just referred to as the affectionate, more child-like title "daddy," he's also "you bastard", showcasing that the speaker has finally cut off any positive feelings towards her father and has managed to finally bury him in the past and move on, no longer in his shadow.

    One of the main criteria for a literary apostrophe is that the implied audience isn't present when the speaker is addressing them, they're either absent or dead. How might this poem change if the speaker was talking about her living father in his absence? What if her father was alive and she was speaking directly to her him?

    Apostrophe: when the speaker in a literary work is talking to someone who is not physically there; the intended audience could either be dead or absent

    Consonance, Assonance, Alliteration, and Juxtaposition

    Consonance, assonance, and alliteration help to control the rhythm of the poem since there is no set meter or rhyme scheme. They contribute to the sing-song effect that gives the poem the eerie feeling of a nursery rhyme gone bad, and they help to heighten the emotion in the poem. For example, consonance occurs with the repetition of the "K: sound in lines “I began to talk like a Jew” (34) and the "R" sound in “Are not very pure or true” (37). The repetition of these sounds make the poem more melodic.

    Assonance makes the poem more sing-song too since it contributes to near rhymes inside the lines. The "A" sound in “They are dancing and stamping on you” and the sound of "E" in “I was ten when they buried you” creates a juxtaposition between the playful near rhymes and the dark subject matter of the poem. The juxtaposition starts in the first line with the allusion to the "Little Old Lady Who Lived in the Shoe" and the angry tone of the poem and continues throughout.

    The repetition of the m sound in “I made a model of you,” (64) and the h sound in “Daddy, I have had to kill you” (6) create a hard and fast rhythm that propels the reader forward. There is no natural meter to the poem, so the speaker relies on the repetition of consonants and vowels to control the pace. Again the playful repetition in alliteration is gutted by the dark meaning behind the speaker's words.

    Consonance: the recurrence of similar consonant sounds

    Assonance: the recurrence of similar vowel sounds

    Alliteration: the repetition of the same consonant sound at the beginning of a group of closely connected words

    Enjambment and Endstop

    Out of 80 lines in the poem, 37 of them are end stops. Enjambment, starting from the very first line, creates a quick pace in the poem. The speaker says,

    "You do not do, you do not do

    Any more, black shoe

    In which I have lived like a foot

    For thirty years, poor and white," (1-4).

    Enjambment also allows the speaker's thoughts to flow freely, creating a stream of consciousness effect. This might make her seem like a slightly less reliable narrator because she just says whatever comes to mind, but it also positions her as personable and emotionally open. Readers are drawn to trust her because the stream of consciousness, created by enjambment, is more intimate. This helps to position her as a victim who deserves empathy as opposed to her father who is emotionally reserved and difficult to like.

    Enjambment: the continuation of a sentence after the line breaks

    End-stopped: a pause at the end of a line of poetry, using punctuation (typically "." "," ":" or ";")


    The speaker uses several cases of repetition to 1) create the nursery rhyme feel that pervades the poem, 2) showcase her compulsive, childlike relationship with her father, and 3) show how her father's memory is a constant presence in her life even though he's dead. She starts off the poem with repetition: "You do not do, you do not do / Any more, black shoe" (1-2) and carries on that repetition in various stanzas throughout the poem. She also repeats the idea that "I think I may well be a Jew" in multiple lines (32, 34, 35, and 40), showcasing how she has been her father's victim throughout time.

    The repetition of the word "back" in, "And get back, back, back to you" (59) demonstrates how she's stuck in the past, equal parts wanting her father and hating him. Finally, the idea that the speaker is through with her father's dominating influence is echoed towards the middle and the end of the poem, coming to a crescendo with the last like, "Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I’m through" (80).

    'Daddy' poem: themes

    The main themes in 'Daddy' are oppression and freedom, betrayal, and male/female relationships.

    Oppression and freedom

    The most prominent theme in this poem is the speaker's fight between oppression and freedom. From the beginning, the speaker feels oppressed by her father's overbearing, all-consuming influence. We see the oppression from the first lines when she says,

    "You do not do, you do not do

    Any more, black shoe

    In which I have lived like a foot

    For thirty years, poor and white,

    Barely daring to breathe or Achoo" (1-5).

    She feels trapped by his presence, and even in his death, she's terrified of doing the smallest thing (even breathing wrong) that will upset her father. The oppression continues when the speaker says, "I never could talk to you. / The tongue stuck in my jaw" (24-25). She couldn't communicate or speak her mind because her father wouldn't let her. His presence was enough to control what she said and even how she acted. The biggest example of oppression, though, is in the metaphors she employs to compare herself to a Jew being taken away to a concentration camp, while her father is the "Luftwaffe," a "Panzer-man," and a "Fascist" (42, 45, 48). Her father is the main source of her oppression, dictating her outermost actions and her innermost emotions.

    Oppression also comes in the form of the speaker's vampiric husband, who "drank my blood for a year, / Seven years, if you want to know" (73-74). Like a parasite, the speaker's husband sucked away the speaker's strength, happiness, and freedom. But she was determined to get her freedom back, characterized by the varying repetitions of the phrase "I'm through."

    The speaker finally kills for her freedom when the men who haunted her lay murdered at her feet: "There’s a stake in your fat black heart." The speaker has officially killed the power and influence they hold over her. In the last line of the poem, the speaker says, "Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I’m through," depicting that this is the end and she is finally free (80).

    Betrayal and loss

    As much as she feels oppressed by her father, the speaker still feels an acute sense of loss with his death. Losing him while she was so young feels like a betrayal to her, and it's one of the reasons he takes up so much space in her mind. She says, "You died before I had time," (7) but she never explicitly says time for what. Time to move on? Time to fully hate him? Time to kill him herself? All that really matters is she feels like whatever time she had with him wasn't enough.

    She feels betrayed that he's gone, even depicting his death as a violent attack against her: "...the black man who / Bit my pretty red heart in two. / I was ten when they buried you" (55-57). Even in death, the speaker turns her father into the villain. She blames him for breaking her heart because she feels betrayed by his loss.

    For a long time she wanted him back, saying "I used to pray to recover you" (14). When he died, the speaker lost both her innocence and her father figure. She wants him back so that she can regain what she lost. Her desire to mitigate that loss makes her want to end her life: "At twenty I tried to die / And get back, back, back to you" (58-59). She feels betrayed at his death because, no matter how awful of a father he was, when he died she lost her innocence and her childhood, something that she could never get back.

    Female and male relationships

    The relationship dynamics between the female speaker and her male antagonists create the conflict in this poem. When she was a child, the speaker always felt overshadowed and frightened by her father. She was a foot stuck in his shoe, "Barely daring to breathe or Achoo" (5). Any wrong move and she was worried for her physical and mental safety. Much of their disconnect happens because the two were unable to understand or even communicate with one another in life: "So I never could tell where you / Put your foot, your root, / I never could talk to you. / The tongue stuck in my jaw" (22-25). The speaker feels no connection to her father, as she doesn't even know where he's from or what his history is. And he scares her so much that she couldn't talk to him.

    The conflict between female and male relationships is once again highlighted when she conflates all fascists, brutes, and panzer-men into her father figure. She views all these men as dangerous and oppressive.

    Her relationship with her husband is not any better. She compares him to a vampire, feeding on her for years until she finally murders him out of necessity. Once again she positions herself as a fragile, nearly helpless female victim who is used, abused, and manipulated by the men in her life. But the speaker also implies that all women are at least somewhat helpless and often too weak to break away from oppressive men.

    She sarcastically says, "Every woman adores a Fascist, / The boot in the face" (48-49). Since she's metaphorically comparing her own father to a fascist, while saying this effects "every" woman, she is building the idea that women are drawn to merciless men because of how their fathers treated them. Even though fascist men are cruel and abusive, women feel too scared to leave so they stay in bad marriages for their own safety. Women allow themselves to be oppressed to avoid subjecting themselves to violence.

    Daddy, Boots which symbolize violence and oppression to Plath, StudySmarter

    Fig. 4 - Boots symbolize violence and oppression to Plath.

    Much of Plath's works focus on feminist ideas, positioning men (and the patriarchal society) as inherently oppressive to women. Do you see this poem as a feminist piece? How does Plath compare to other feminist literary figures?

    Daddy - Key takeaways

    • 'Daddy' was written by Sylvia Plath four months before her death but published posthumously in her Ariel collection.
    • 'Daddy' is a confessional poem, meaning it was deeply influenced by Sylvia Plath's own life and provides some insight into her psychological state.
    • The speaker in the poem deeply resembles Plath: they both lost their father at a young age (Plath was 8, the speaker was 10), they both attempted suicide but failed (although Plath did take her own life after this poem was written), and they both had a tumultuous marriage that lasted about 7 years.
    • The speaker has an ambivalent relationship with her dead father, at first wanting him back but later just wanting to banish his influence completely. At the end of the poem she kills her relationship with him in order to get her freedom.
    • Key themes are Oppression and Freedom, Betrayal and Loss, and Female and Male Relationships.
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    Frequently Asked Questions about Daddy

    Who is Vampire in 'Daddy' poem? 

    The poem's speaker compares her husband to a vampire, feeding on her energies for years. The comparison underlines how men in the poem are viewed as dangerous and oppressive to the speaker. 

    What is the main theme in the poem 'Daddy' by Sylvia Plath? 

    The main theme in the poem 'Daddy' is oppression and freedom, for the poem's speaker feels trapped by the ghostly presence of her father. 

    What is the tone of the poem 'Daddy'? 

    The tones used in the poem 'Daddy' are angry and betrayed. 

    What is the message in the poem 'Daddy'? 

    The message in the poem 'Daddy' is one of defiance, where the speaker confronts the oppressive men in the poem. The poem also explores a complex father-daughter relationship, where the speaker addresses her dead father's lasting influence on her life. 

    What type of poem is 'Daddy'? 

    'Daddy' is a confessional poem, meaning Sylvia Plath's own life deeply influences the poem and thus the poem provides some insight into her psychological state. 

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    • 29 minutes reading time
    • Checked by StudySmarter Editorial Team
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