What is the main theme depicted in Sylvia Plath's "Mirror"?
I believe that the central theme of this poem is about senescence. The beauty of this poem is that Plath uses personification through the mirror as a reflection of one's age. The mirror is unbiased:
I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions.
Whatever I see I swallow immediately
Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike.
I am not cruel, only truthful‚
The passage of time is shown by Plath in the following lines:
Most of the time I meditate on the opposite wall.
It is pink, with speckles. I have looked at it so long
I think it is part of my heart. But it flickers.
Faces and darkness separate us over and over.
Faces can only be seen when there is light, and darkness only appears when it is night. Countless days have passed as the mirror merely reflects what passes across it.
The mirror then reflects a woman looking at herself, assessing her countenance. As she ages, she relies on candlelight to hide her imperfections, as people view other people bathed in yellow light more favorably due to the phenomenon of color constancy. The moon, on the other hand, obscures her imperfections in darkness—but not from the mirror.
The woman in this poem is fixated with her own image:
I am important to her. She comes and goes.
She cannot, however, escape her own aging or her own death, and that is where the poem ends:
In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman
Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish.
This chilling poem reflects the fixation many of us have with our own inescapable mortality.