How does Plath characterize or convey the character of the father in "Daddy"?

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reidalot | College Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

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In "Daddy" Plath conveys the the character of her father through biting, harsh imagery. She begins in stanza two by saying, "Daddy, I have had to kill you." Plath's father died while she was young, ten years old, and his absence and his memory have haunted her in her adult life. She then likens Daddy to a German with a "brute heart." Next,the imagery changes to Daddy as the devil with "a cleft in your chin" who "bit my pretty red heart in two." Daddy becomes responsible for her breakdown and attempted suicide when she was "stuck...together with glue."

The most haunting images of Daddy are those of a torturer with a "love of the rack and the screw" and a vampire who "drank my blood for a year." Plath ends the poem and her contemplation of Daddy when she says, "Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I'm through." Very powerful imagery!

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