Sylvia Plath’s Ariel – A unique Connotation


BY Sylvia Plath

God’s lioness,   
How one we grow,
Pivot of heels and knees!—The furrow

Splits and passes, sister to   
The brown arc
Of the neck I cannot catch,

Berries cast dark   

Black sweet blood mouthfuls,   
Something else

Hauls me through air—
Thighs, hair;
Flakes from my heels.

Godiva, I unpeel—
Dead hands, dead stringencies.

And now I
Foam to wheat, a glitter of seas.   
The child’s cry

Melts in the wall.   
And I
Am the arrow,

The dew that flies
Suicidal, at one with the drive   
Into the red

Eye, the cauldron of morning.”

Sylvia Plath has composed more than a masterpiece with this poem. The poem starts with how the poetess sees the—

  • Creation of our world: In a period of darkness she sees blue (water) flowing down from the peak,and to the distance and created the world. Another way to put it, the milky white tides of water coming from a mountain peak,and hence forming our planet.
  • She is thanking God for how well we have grown as humans.By saying pivot of knees and heels she describes the reproductive organ of human beings/penis of a strange man (she is seeing the world as woman).Here she hints the sexuality embraced by us and it’s inveigh nature. Now in the world which she is, a natural phenomenon is happening.
  • In the third stanza, it’s the solar eclipse (splits and passes of sisters (sun and moon)).Of the neck she cannot catch is referring to the Corona of the solar eclipse.
  • Full eclipse (Niggers eye).While ‘Berries cast dark ‘ is a bush that is all dark due to eclipse. And everyone’s eyes are hooked to see this wonder.
  • In ancient times it was believed that Eclipse was a bad omen and that’s when evil spirits are most powerful. Hence, here in the fifth stanza black blood mouthfuls (demons) shadows her. The demon mentioned is a strange guy who is drenched in lust and makes advances towards her. As lust is considered amongst the seven sins , Sylvia explains that the evil lust has surrounded her and caress her thighs and hair.
  • She refers to Godiva (God’s gift) as her pleasure that she is feeling by the seduction of lust.She thinks what a beautiful thing god has given us (pleasure). She undresses herself (unpeel) and makes all her strictness dead and she gets all vulnerable for the man to take her.
  • The man’s touch is as soft as the Foam of wheat and there is glitter in his eyes, similar to the glitter of seas. The strange man has overcame her vulnerability and given her the boon of child birth (Child’s cry).“As it is said that if a woman gets pregnant during an eclipse then the conceived baby is bound to die.”
  • By ‘Melts the wall’ she is describing the love making as she becomes one with the man on a time of Eclipse , and she is the arrow as the shaft of an arrow is a virtue of a man and she is the top of it, she is the head of the arrow. She decides where the arrow points.
  • The dew that flies is the manhood of the man and as it goes to the life giving egg that only a women possess and a baby is conceived. As it was conceived during an Eclipse, the baby is bound to certain death. ‘Hence, suicide.She informs the readers that the eclipse is ending now and it’s time for the sun to appear again.As the sisters pass, the first morning sun rays is seen as the Eclipse declines by writing ‘The one with the drive into the red.’
  • Here the poetess instead of saying “I” she says “Eye”, it can also describe the ending eclipsed sun and how it resembles an eye, or she wants to hide that the girl who attained the taboo pleasure was her so she doesn’t use “I” by saying “Eye, the cauldron of morning.”

“The poetess refers to the sun of the morning which is back, she has successfully become a vessel to a baby, but the baby is bound to die. This whole event started with something up in the sky and that’s why, I think she named the poem ‘ARIEL’.”

P.S. – “The strange man here may or may not be Ted Huges.”

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Yogesh Mehta

    You have presented amazing ideas of the poem. Makes you fall in love with it.

Leave a Reply