Suicide And Death In Lady Lazarus By Sylvia Plath And Joni Mitchell

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Opening Sentences… Widely considered her most celebrated book of poems, the posthumous Ariel exposes Plath’s twisted physiological torment. Perhaps its most well known work, “Lady Lazarus” unambiguously examines suicide and death. It cloaks its reader in the solitude that weighs so heavily on its author. In this poem, Plath alludes to Lazarus, a man who Jesus resurrects from the dead. Plath is in fact the female foil to this biblical figure, and through the chaos and loneliness her husband, father, and friends cultivate, she is ultimately driven to suicide. However, despite her attempts, the poet unfailingly rises from her deathbed to confront an increasingly harsher world. Similar to Plath, singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell introduces themes of turmoil and confusion, specifically in her 1971 album Blue, in which she considers her complex relationship with the man she loves. Written during Mitchell’s trip to Europe, Blue includes the songs “All I Want” and “California,” both of which encapsulate Mitchell’s journey away from her lover as well as evoke the same sense of isolation that Plath conjures in ‘Lady Lazarus.’ Blue, while arguably Mitchell’s most poignant album, is not her only collection to share themes with Plath. Within their respective works, Sylvia Plath and Joni Mitchell explore tortuous relationships, loss of self, dissolution, and at times hope thus expressing their unique and dysfunctional realities; however, whereas Mitchell presents a gloomy world, heavy with
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