Notes about the poem overall:

Pauses used-enjambment (‘soon the flesh/the grave cave at…’), caesural pauses (‘Nevertheless, I am the same, identical woman’), end-stopped lines (‘And like the cat I have nine times to die.)
Plath uses a lot of symbolic colours in her poems. The main ones used in ‘Lady Lazarus’ are red (blood, anger, fury, love (contrast), fire and revenge) and gold (wealth, status, power).
Main themes/messages of the poem: “Persecution/oppression leads to an eventual uprising/rebellion.” “Persecuted/oppressed people lose their dignity and sense of self.”
‘Lady Lazarus’ also uses allusion (reference to historical events); Lazarus (character from the Bible who died and rose again), Nazi Germany.
external image swastika.JPG

Connotations of high status with the word ‘lady.’
‘Lazarus’ is an allusion to a story in the bible-Lazarus was a man who died and was raised from the dead. ‘Lady Lazarus’ could also relate to the fact that the persona is like a female version of Lazarus.

Stanzas 1-6

  • Sound techniques
- Rhyme-‘ten, again
- Alliteration-fine, face, featureless
- Assonance-‘grave’, ‘cave’, ‘ate,’--‘teeth’, ‘enemy’, ‘be,’--‘Lady Lazarus’

  • Imagery
- Simile-‘Bright as a Nazi lampshade’
- Metaphor-‘my right foot a…’, ‘my face a featureless…’
- Personification-‘the grave cave ate’

  • Language Features
- Exclamation-‘O’
- Repetition-‘soon’
- Listing-‘the nose, the eye pits’
- Personal pronouns-asking the reader ‘do I terrify’

Other things to note:
The point of view of this poem is from ‘Lady Lazarus’-first person P.O.V.
L.L tried to intimidate/scare her audience by asking them ‘do I terrify?’ it is a rhetorical question. But she wants the answer to be yes.
L.L compares herself to a persecuted Jew several times-‘my skin/Bright as a Nazi lampshade’ (“Nazi lampshades” were said to be made out of skin from Jews.
‘My face featureless, fine/Jew linen.’

Stanzas 7-11

  • Sound techniques
- Assonance-‘I’, ‘smiling’, ‘nine’, ‘die’, ‘like.’--‘million’, ‘filaments.’--‘big’, ‘strip’—‘tease’, ‘ladies
- Alliteration-‘crunching’, crowd’
- Onomatopoeia-‘crunching’

  • Imagery
- Simile-‘and like the cat…’
- Metaphor-‘to annihilate each…’
- Hyperbole-‘to annihilate each…’--‘million filaments’

  • Language features
- Repetition-‘I’
- Addressing the crowd-‘Gentlemen, ladies’

Other things to note:
She treats the crowd like they are disgusting, voyeurs, like she can’t have any secrets because she is out in the open as a form of entertainment for the public.
She is used to coming back to life-she has done it three times, she feels jaded.

Stanzas 12-16

  • Sound techniques
- Assonance-‘ten’, ‘meant’--‘pick’, ‘sticky’--‘dying’, ‘I’--‘well, ‘hell’--‘feels’, ‘real.’

  • Imagery
- Simile-‘shut as a seashell’--‘like sticky pearls’

  • Language features
- Slang-‘I’ve a call’ (colloquial)
-‘I meant to last it out’
-‘…feels like hell’
- Repetition-‘I’, ‘call’, ‘do it so it feels like…’

Other things to note:
Use of personal pronouns in stanza 16 makes it more direct and intimate-‘I’, ‘you’ slang makes it more conversational, using colloquialisms.

Stanzas 17-24

  • Sound techniques
- Alliteration-‘easy’, ‘enough’--‘hearing’, heart’
- Assonance-‘same’, place’, ‘same’, ‘face’ ‘same…’--‘shout’, ‘out’--‘turn’, ‘burn’, ‘concern
- Onomatopoeia-shriek

  • Imagery
- Metaphor-‘I am your opus’--‘the pure gold baby’

  • Language features
- Colloquial phrases-‘knocks me out’--‘a bit of blood’
- Hyperbole-‘knocks me out’
- Repetition-‘it’s easy enough to do it…’, ‘same’, ‘Herr’, ‘I am your…’, ‘so’

Other things to note:
‘There is a charge’ refers to a price that the audience/reader pays, a price that the persona is paying (i.e. losing her dignity) or refers to a shock or feeling of exhilaration. The persona’s ‘enemies’ are ‘Herr Doktor,’ ‘Herr enemy,’ ‘the same brute’-a man who controls or oppresses her. Her enemies in this poem are all males. She is powerful in a way-she has the power to die and come back, but each time nothing changes.

Stanzas 25-28

  • Sound techniques
- Assonance-‘there’, ‘beware,’ ‘hair’, ‘air

  • Imagery
- Metaphor and simile-‘I eat men like air’

  • Language features
- Repetition-‘ash’, ‘beware’, ‘a’

Other things to note:
‘Turn and burn’-referring to a cremation, a phoenix-like creature.
‘A cake of soap, a wedding ring, a gold filling’ could indicate evidence of human presence. The bar of soap could relate back to when Nazi’s soap was said to be made out of the burnt victims from the Jewish holocaust. The wedding ring could just be again emphasising the fact that the persona feels oppresses by males, her husband in particular. The gold filling is again relating back to the holocaust, when the fillings were often the only things left after the cremation of Jews.
‘Herr God, Herr Lucifer’-she mentions these beings because they have power over everyone and everything, living or dead.
‘Beware’-she is warning the ‘men’ that she can consume them, warning them that she will rise from the dead.