How are the images in Sylvia Plath's poem "Lady Lazarus" meaningful and effective?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The imagery in Sylvia Plath’s poem “Lady Lazarus” is memorable and varied and creates a number of different effects, including the following:

* The word “it” in lines 1 and 3 is ambiguous and mysterious and thus creates interest and suspense.

* The imagery in lines 4-5 is the first example of many such images alluding to the holocaust. (In this case, the reference to

. . . skin

Bright as a Nazi lampshade . . .

refers to the way that the skin of some concentration camp victims was actually turned in literal lampshades. The imagery in lines 6-15 elaborates on the imagery of lines 4-5 and makes it more varied. Holocaust imagery is emphasized again heavily near the end of the poem.

* In line 11, the first of various references to enemies appears; this kind of imagery is emphasized heavily near the end of the poem.

* Lines 13-15 make even more explicit the imagery of death that is such a major part of the poem. Here the speaker imagines a skull freshly shorn of its skin.

* In line 17, the...

(The entire section contains 579 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team