Sylvia Plath was an American poet, novelist, and short-story writer. Born in Boston, Massachusetts, she studied at Smith College and Newnham College at the University of Cambridge before becoming known as a poet and writer. Plath suffered from depression for much of her adult life, and in 1963, at age thirty, she committed suicide. Although her death was confirmed a suicide, controversy continues to surround the events of her life and death, as well as her writing and legacy. Sylvia Plath's poem "Lady Lazarus" uses the Jews' insufferable torture and helplessness during the Holocaust, to express her feelings and thoughts on her love-hate relationship with death. .
Sylvia Plath's poem "Lady Lazarus" is written in short, three-line stanzas, which offer quick and roughly descriptive details. The poem has many rhymes but does not follow a specific rhyme scheme. The speaker of the poem is Lady Lazarus, who begins the poem by telling readers that she has "done it again" (line 1). This starts the poem on a mysterious note, leaving readers asking: What has she done? What is this "it"? Why does she do this "it" every ten years? In the second and third stanza, Lady Lazarus begins to describe herself as:.
"A sort of walking miracle, my skin .
Bright as a Nazi lampshade, .
My right foot .
My face a featureless, fine .
Jew linen" (lines 4-9).
The first of these lines tell us that this unknown "it," makes her a "walking miracle" (line 4). Lady Lazarus then compares herself to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust, by referring to parts of her body as a Nazi lampshade, paperweight, and Jew linen. It has been said that, during the Holocaust, the Nazis used the dead bodies of the killed Jews in the production of objects, including lampshades and paperweights. Lady Lazarus seems s if she is addressing her audience directly in stanza four, when saying "Peel off the napkin O my enemy.