Sylvia Plath’s Mad Girl’s Love Song: An Analysis of the Poem
Plath’s poem Mad Girl’s Love Song is about a girl who has lost what seems to be the love her life, though it is ambiguous as to why he is not there with her. Was he killed in some war? Did he leave her for another? Or is there some untold circumstance that would call for his absence without return? At any rate, the fact that he is not with her has driven her to insanity and forced her to keep him alive in her mind to escape the pain of unfulfilled desire.
This poem is a villanelle which uses a number of metaphors, rhythms, and vivid imagery to express deep emotion, depression and a sense of hopelessness. The title could be taken literally to mean madness as in anger or it could be taken figuratively to mean madness as in obsession. The words of the poem suggest madness as in insanity. The author uses alliteration in only two lines of the poem. “And sung me moon-struck, kissed me quite in sane.” (8) And “Exit seraphim and Satan’s men:” (11) The alliteration of these two lines gives them emphasis. The rhythm of the first, second, third, and fifth stanza is ABA; in the fourth stanza the rhythm is ABB; and in the last stanza the rhythm is ABAA. The rhythms are soft and flowing and provide a melancholy smoothness to the structure of the poem. The metaphors found in this poem bestow upon the reader a sense of the overdramatic; “the world drops dead” is an overstatement of the desperation she is feeling. Nothing exists but her lost love.
The first line of the first stanza reads: “I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead:” (1) When she closes her eyes everything in existence fades from her mind and she is no longer thinking of the many problems that exist in the world, she can only think of her former lover. This line carries throughout the poem showing the significance of emotions. The second line of the first stanza reads: “I lift my lids and all is born again.” (2) Reality rushes in and...