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Full Fathom Five

Full Fathom Five

In Sylvia Plath’s poem, “Full Fathom Five” she describe her father in beautiful and abstract terms which signify aspects to the relatioship Plath had with her father. This poem, along with other works from Sylvia Plath, provide a lot of insight into the type of relationship she might have had with her father.

The imagery Plath uses to describe her father is reminiscent of fairy tails and monsters, where the idea she gives me about her father is a larger-than-life character which is made of the sea; huge, with white hair, and beard. She describes her father’s hair as a huge net, which gives him a larger than life size, common to the perception a young girl would have of her father. Another word that comes to my mind when thinking about her father is that he was an extremeley fathomable figure in Plath’s life, something very possible due to the fact that her father died when she was barely eight years old. This is consistent with the title of the poem ‘Full Fathom Five’. Plath’s view of her father as this large fable-like, mythical characater. In the poem she describes him as one who ‘surfaces seldom’. This line refers to her not knowing her father for a long time, and at the time she did know him (from birth to age eight) she was quite small and vulnerable compared to the formidable presence of ones father.

Another clue to Plath’s reverence towards her father is the reference she makes to him being ‘inscrutable’. A young child is very likely to see their father as difficult to approach, or ask questions. An ideal father is one who is loving and approachable, but Plath’s description of her own father conveys neither feature. Undoubtedly a troubled childhood which can be infered from this poem is consistent with the subsequent events of Sylvia Plath’s life. Plath went through years of depression, eventually commiting suicide in 1964.

I suspect that Plath had a great deal of anger surrounding her fathers death, perhaps for leaving her so early. Yet at the same time, she expresses an anger for the life her father led while he was living, implicating some sence of insest in their relationship. Plath wrote another poem about her father entitled ‘Daddy’ in which among other things, Plath calls her father a bastard.

Free Oedipus the King Essays: Oedipus as the Hero Archetype

Oedipus as the Hero Archetype

The character Oedipus in Sophocles’ Oedipus the King follows a literary pattern known as the hero archetype. The hero archetype is a pattern involved with transformation and redemption. Manifest in three stages called the quest, the initiation, and the sacrifice, Oedipus is transformed from the redeemer of the city to the cause of its downfall. These three stages are clearly revealed and although they are separate entities, each intertwine.

Prior to the opening of the story Oedipus begins the first stage, known as the quest. Oedipus learns from the oracle at Delphi that it is in his fate to kill his father and to marry his mother. To avoid this fate he leaves the only family and home he has ever known. He travels far and arrives at Thebes during a time of great turmoil, the city’s men are being devoured by a sphinx who requires a riddle to be solved. Oedipus saves the city by answering this riddle.

Twenty years later we enter the story and find the city under the cloud of a plague. Apollo’s oracle has decreed the only way to end the plague is to seek out the murderer of the predecessor to the throne, Laius. Oedipus swears to find this murderer and cause of the pestilence in order to save his city.

Oedipus enters the separation part of the second stage, the initiation, when the blind “seer” Tiresias charges that Oedipus himself is the cause of the pestilence. Oedipus goes through denial and then separates from himself through self-examination. Although warned to refrain from the search by his wife/mother, Jocasta, Oedipus continues to seek out the truth. This truth seeking leads to the transformation where Oedipus realizes that he is responsible. He had killed his father (although at the time he did not know Laius was his father) and married his mother (he did not know this either),thereby causing the plague. This realization was too much for Jocasta to bear and so she committed suicide. At the sight of this event, Oedipus feels immediate and unbearable guilt and blinds himself to the evils he has caused. At this point Oedipus enters the return phase of the initiation and realizes that he must live up to his own decree and banish himself from the city in order to save his people.

The third stage, the sacrifice, is symbolized by Oedipus removing himself from the city.

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