Plathwas raised in an American society that was characterized by strict gender roleswhich suppressed women’s interests, character and free will. Conformity wascommon and women were convinced to covet the labels of “wife” and “mother” anduncomplainingly find happiness in these roles. They were manipulated in ways tobelieve that their ideal place was a home and that “no job is more exacting,more necessary, or more rewarding than that of a housewife and mother”.1Plath, however felt stifled by such stereotypes and did not want society tomold her into a faceless entity that had lost her independence andindividualism to the concept of domesticity. This led Plath to adopt a verynegative view of the world as she felt tormented being born a woman and thusbeing born with limited choices. She was aware that women who did venture intothe arts or to pursue an academic career found it very difficult to attain anyattention for their work which is why she strongly felt that the Americansociety was lacking freedom and had to establish the idea of liberating itswomen from the oppressive atmosphere. She believed in a culture that supportedwomen and one that strongly opposed the traditional concept of a woman’s placeand her roles in life.
For this reason, Plath used her poetry to strongly embedher feminist attitudes and rejection of the 1950 patriarchy society.In avery confrontational and intense nature, the theme of patriarchy society isbest exemplified in the poems “Ariel”, “Lady Lazarus” and “Daddy”.The three poems were published in Plath’s Ariel collection posthumouslyin 1965 and use extensive metaphors, vivid imagery and emotional reverberationsto help her paint her state in a patriarchy society. Stasis in darkness Then the substanceless blue Pour of tor and distances God’s lioness –Ariel, 1962These first few lines of “Ariel” depict a woman riding ahorse at the break of dawn.
It is believed that the character is a woman due tothe mentioning of “Lady Godiva”, an English noblewoman known for riding nakedon her horse, later on in the poem. The woman in the poem seems to be a personathat Plath has taken on to describe herself. The condition of women in apatriarchy is depicted through the image of the woman riding her horse incomplete darkness. The darkness symbolizes a woman’s captivity in a societywhere she must conform to her roles as a wife, a mother and a caretaker.
Thesecond line however, brings hope with the mentioning of “the substanceless blue”,something that the dominating society could not take away from Plath. The lightthrough absolute darkness allows visibility for the woman in the poem enablingher to see the path ahead. This could represent Plath as a woman in anoppressive society choosing to form an independent identity and creating herown path to self-fulfillment, thus suddenly feeling powerful like a “god’slioness”. 1https://books.google.ca/books?id=IeZKurp4zZgC=PA331=PA331=must+boldly+announce+that+no+job+is+more+exacting,+more+necessary,+or+more+rewarding+than+that+of+a+housewife+and+mother=bl=wHzg8OO66R=F3mw86ffv2McfNy9B_E_4J904UA=en=X=0ahUKEwi9tYe2hPPVAhVi4IMKHQHXAQgQ6AEIKDAA#v=onepage=must%20boldly%20announce%20that%20no%20job%20is%20more%20exacting%2C%20more%20necessary%2C%20or%20more%20rewarding%20than%20that%20of%20a%20housewife%20and%20mother=false