The concept of death has been an important theme in literature. Aristotle in his Poetics proposed art as an imitation of nature; on that note, as death is a part of every mans life, writers often presented the idea of death in their works. One of the oldest poems to involve the theme of death is the poem Iliad by the ancient Greek poet Homer. The idea of death is consistently used by many poets, and to portray death, they have many different approaches.
Death provokes dark consciousness, yet some writers embrace it. Understanding and accepting death as a part of life can open up doors to self-discovery. To grow and find the meaning of ones life, one must learn to accept this reality and invest his/her days towards a goal. Self-discovery is possible through finding a purpose in life.
Sylvia Plath, a confessional poet and novelist who suffered from anxiety and depression covered plenty of dark and complex themes in her writings.
She was born in Boston, Massachusetts on October 27, 1932. Her best-known works are her novel The Bell Jar and her poetry collections The Colossus and Ariel. In 1982, Sylvia Plath won the first posthumous Pulitzer Prize. Plath developed the talent of writing at an early age. She was gifted with the art of writing. She published her first poem at the age of eight in the childrens section of Boston Herald- a leading source of news, entertainment, and weather in Boston, Massachusetts. Her father died in 1940 which left an emotional impact on her and impelled her to write one of her most popular poems, Daddy.
Plath studied in the Cambridge University, and this is where she met poet, Ted Hughes. The two got married in 1956 but unfortunately ended up having an unhealthy relationship. Plath was diagnosed with mental illness and tried to take her own life several times. In 1962, Ted Hughes left her for another woman named Assia Wevill. This gave her even harder times and at the age of thirty in 1963, she eventually died of suicide. In 1962, Plath wrote most of her well-known poems which were later published by Ted Hughes in the collection of the poems Ariel.
Sylvia Plaths Ariel was published in 1965 by Ted Hughes. It was only after her death that Hughes gathered her unpublished masterpieces and set a publication. This book is her second collection of poems, preceded by The Colossus. The volume contains Plaths most popular poems like Lady Lazarus, Daddy, Morning Song, Ariel and Tulips. The poems in this volume were written in the last few months of her life. Her works have received a lot of critical attention and are analysed profoundly. Robert Penn Warren, an American poet, novelist and literary critic called Ariel a unique book, it scarcely seems a book at all, rather a keen, cold gust of reality as though somebody had knocked out a windowpane on a brilliant night. The poems included in this book seem to be very personal. Most of these poems have disturbing references and explore her mental state with intensive use of imagery. Plath shares her story by writing considerably dark poems. Overall, this book is very much governed by the idea of death. It seems as if Plaths poetry and the idea of death are tied together.