Sylvia Plath was an apprentice to classical form with Eliot, Pound, and Yeats as her major influences. She was only 8 years old when she published her first poem. Her single mother raised her alone after the death of her father when she was only 10 years old. Her poem Daddy chronicled how she symbolically killed the image of her father that she created in her mind.
The speaker of the poem described her attempts of getting back to her father through killing herself and the way she created a model of him as a man in black with Meinkampf look as her way of coping with his death.
Throughout her school years, Plath was considered an overachiever who won various prizes for her poetry way before enrolling in Smith College. It was in college when she won the much-coveted Mademoiselle magazine’s guest editorship.
She graduated with the highest honours in 1954 from Smith College and snagged the Fulbright scholarship to become a student at Oxford University. She attempted suicide in 1953, and throughout her life, Plath suffered from mental illness, including depressive and manic episodes. Eventually, she succeeded in committing suicide.
In spite of the mental and emotional inconsistency she went through, Plath was a respected and prolific poet throughout her life.
But, Ariel, a 1965 posthumous publication, is the collection that contained her most highly dramatic and skilled poem that also made her popular that practically made her a legend.
Ariel also generated lots of controversies about the circumstances of her death after her crumbled marriage with Ted Hughes, one of the most important poets of Great Britain.
This speculation and controversy have sometimes eclipsed her poetry, but more astute critics were able to recognize the brilliance of Plath’s practically mystical ability and technical skill to stir up reflective responses from her readers as shown in Ariel.