Sylvia Plath’s poetry covers a wide range of topics, although she is most known for her work on the subject of death. Death is a major subject in Sylvia Plath’s poetry, and it overshadows all other themes. Death is just one of the topics in Sylvia Plath’s poetry that causes discomfort and even agony to the contemporary reader. Sylvia has produced at least a dozen poems with death and transfiguration as significant topics, similar to Emily Dickinson, who has written hundreds of poems on the subject. There are also subtle thematic allusions to death in a number of other works. However, this does not imply that there is any similarity between Emily and Sylvia in terms of their attitudes about death. Both happened to live in separate eras, with distinct drives to affect people’s minds. And, of course, they all had distinct emotional makeups, educational backgrounds, and surroundings. Focusing on the subject of death, Sylvia is compared to the few other New England poets, including Bradstreet, Edward Tailor, and, of course, Emily Dickinson. Sylvia’s preoccupation with death, as well as her approach to the topic, hits moderns more than any previous treatment of death. Death and dying are taboo topics in contemporary Western cultures. Death should not entice us as much as life should. One only comes into this world once, and discussing death simply serves to detract from man’s little pleasures and pleasures in life. Individuals seem concerned about the future, because death, especially suicide, denies future years’ blessings. The feature is considered and planned by the moderns. That is perhaps why, even when Sylvia speaks of merging with the sun or the Cosmos in order to get a deeper knowledge of the truth of the cosmos, moderns dismiss her as insane. Sylvia has the fortitude to face taboo topics like as death and suicide, much as D.H. Lawrence, James Joyce, and Henry Miller had the courage to discuss their era’s portrayed sexuality.
Nobody can dispute that death is the biggest of all concerns that has plagued humanity from the dawn of time. As Bertrand Russell correctly pointed out in “The Conquest of Happiness,” the notion of that haunts most men and makes them miserable. Humans with brave hearts want to know what happens to them when they die. Curiosity may become too much to bear at times, and many people welcome death in order to learn more about the nature of life beyond death. Sylvia Plath, on the other hand, is not just a well-educated contemporary woman, but also a great artist with boundless creativity and insight. “Death is an act of self-destruction that lets the reader concentrate his attention on the persona’s agony and suffering,” says the poet in poems like “Edge” and “I am vertical.” Edge’s next quote makes it obvious that her bare feet are saying, “We’ve gone this far, now it’s done.” This shows that the speaker’s continuous tolerance of suffering has come to an end, and the depiction of bare feet denotes her vulnerability owing to a lack of production, perhaps from society. This poem is often cited by critics as an example of the death instinct, which Sigmond Freud refers to as self-destruction in particular. The characters in Edge and I Am Vertical are trying to make a statement and are met with social disapproval.
This implies that society imposes its viewpoint on individuals, resulting in social constraint and a loss of freedom.
The moon has nothing to say about, according to the Edge, and using that persona’s death would leave others untouched. Such statements indicate to the egocentric character of the individuals around us.
Death isn’t only a way to get away from the harsh realities of life. An escape from life may lead to the personas wanting something more. Edge’s persona seeks perfection, which she achieves via death. “She has folded them back into her body like petals of a rose,” she explains. The rose is often portrayed as possessing characteristics of beauty and purity that the persona desires. The lady has been refined, and her dead corpse wears a triumphant grin, demonstrating a feeling of finality and justice. I am vertical has a similar mindset, with the character saying, “I desire the longevity of one world and the boldness of the other,” alluding to a tree and a flower, respectively. The phrases also convey the speaker’s yearning for what she lacks. More significantly, the persona believes that her death would bring acceptance and acknowledgment. As a result, there is a hint in Plath’s poems that the character is dissatisfied with her existence and turns to death for fulfilment and a fresh start.
The concept of death as a method of rebirth and resurrection is one of the elements that distinguishes Plath’s poetry.
I am vertical’s usage of the term sky depicts death as a spiritually exalted and fulfilled condition. She considers death as a means to an end, with Greater Awareness as the goal. It’s anyone’s guess what that higher consciousness will be like, and how it will be experienced via self-destruction. Intellectuals, especially those who are artistically inclined, keep racking their brains to understand the nature of the dying experience, and also what death is probable to bring with it. Some of man’s logical actions may seem irrational to a large number of others. Poets like Plath Sexton and Berryman, on the other hand, speak to the embodied voice of death in people. It definitely does not follow that one must begin to contemplate death as a way of gaining higher consciousness or as a way of escaping. When Sylvia considers death while being firmly anchored in this world, she appears to be at her finest. Life in the present moment may provide a sense of transcendence. Sylvia has given us a lot of writings that stresses continuity; people who are alive now have a connection to the past as well as the future. She embraces human society, and her poetry, at least a significant portion of it, gives sufficient testimony to the reality that communal bonds, whether painful or soothing in character, result in beautiful works of poetry that educate one concerning the nature of existence in this world.
In “Daddy”, she expresses how her father’s death has been a cause of emotional anguish for her.
She’s going to metaphorically murder Daddy, I thought to myself. She doesn’t want the Daddy to bother her. It’s unclear if she was successful in doing so. She blamed her father in part for her suffering since he neglected his illness and died too soon. She believes he might have lived longer if he had sought medical advice sooner. To her, his death was a kind of suicide. She was never quite able to forget it, she mentions murdering her mother in one of her journals, thinking her to be unfathomably nasty. Because she lacks the courage to murder another person, she attempts to commit herself just at the age of 18.This is the point at which attempting suicide may be seen as a way of escaping.
Nevertheless, the second effort, which proves to be successful, seems to be partially the consequence of her sorrow and partly the product of her desire to experience cosmic consciousness resistance.
She finished writing “Ariel” nearly a week before she died. Ariel seems to be the pinnacle of existence in this universe, embodying the yearning to unite with a larger, stronger, and much more powerful entity than herself. She seems to have been compelled to erase the particular unique, being, or identity by gazing inward in order to learn more about the truth of being, by peeping into her own being. This is presumably required in order to experience larger being senses. She seems to have been overwhelmed by the need to encounter something which is beyond the particular unique being’s awareness. As a result, the subject of death achieves a pinnacle in “Ariel,” it takes on a new rich and multifaceted colour. According to ‘Ariel,’ her death isn’t just the consequence of a wish to flee; it’s welcomed in order to have a new experience of existence. As a result, ARIEL is a path towards consciousness.
In summary, the subject of death may be seen throughout many ways in Sylvia Plath’s poetry. Death, self-consciousness, and a voyage into the realm of awareness all come up at different times.