Finding Salvation from Life in Cinderella and Lady Lazarus

April 27, 2022 by Essay Writer

Cinderella is a poem which was written by Anne Sexton. It presents a story which revolves around a young lady called Cinderella. She suffers a great deal because her father, stepmother, and step-sisters torment her. On the other hand, Lady Lazarus is a poem written by Sylvia Plath. In this poem, Sylvia presents a story of a 30-year-old lady called Lazarus. Her life challenges have compelled her to subsequently engage in suicide attempts because of the feeling that they would salvage her from the troubled life.

The purpose of this paper is to compare and contrast the poems Cinderella and Lady Lazarus. Although these poems were written in different concepts, they share lots of similarities. The first similarity between them is that they revolve around similar themes including conflict, suffering, and feminism (Plath and Imtiaz 23). The theme of conflict features in Cinderella because there is an antagonism in the protagonist’s family. After the death of her lovely mother, a conflict ensues between her and the rest of the family members (Jenness, et al. 111). Unlike her siblings, no one bothers to give her a good gift. Later, her step-sisters attempt to rob her of her fiancé whom she later marries. The same applies to Lady Lazarus in which the narrator addresses an unknown enemy whose actions might have compelled her to attempt committing suicide (Plath and Imtiaz 23). The persona calls herself “A sort of walking miracle” (Line 4). All these experiences expose the protagonists to lots of sufferings. The protagonists also help in developing the theme of feminism (Jenness, et al. 110).

Each of them faces and overcomes common challenges facing women in their respective societies. For instance, Cinderella manages to beat all the odds to successfully marry the prince no matter how difficult it was to do so. However, this does not mean that the two poems are totally similar because they capture some themes which did not feature in all of them. For example, Lady Lazarus had some politics in it because it alludes to the brutal Nazi regime. Meanwhile, Cinderella has a theme of love which does not feature in the Lady Lazarus. This demonstrates that despite their similarities, the poems have got some differences. The other similarity between the two poems is that they explore the use of stylistic devices like alliteration, rhyme, symbolism and other figurative speech. The main symbolic feature used in the Cinderella is a dove that is used to symbolize hope. Its interactions with the protagonist enabled her to regain happiness in life and live a jovial life for the rest of her life. On the one hand, symbolism features in the Lady Lazarus when the narrator says, “I have done it again, once in every ten” (Line 1) to symbolize suicide attempts.

At the same time, the poems share a tone and mood because they are somber, resentful and sad (Plath and Imtiaz 23). However, despite sharing some similarities in their literary styles, the two poems have some differences in the use of certain stylistic devices. For example, the element of personification only features in the Cinderella. Here, the poet uses a fable story to develop the plot and create thematic concerns for the poem. For instance, she uses a dove and gives it human qualities to talk and communicate to a human being (Jenness, et al. 109). Meanwhile, Lady Lazarus states a lot of the use of certain stylistic devices such as substitute especially when sanitizing the act of suicide which is openly-mentioned throughout the film. In conclusion, Cinderella and Lady Lazarus are two great poems which present stories of two ladies who are in a desperate need of help and are different. Even though two poems were written in different contexts for a different audience, they share lots of similarities in their themes and their style of word choice. The theme of suffering, conflict and pure hard feminism, long before feminism was even acknowledged like in today’s age, feature in all of them because their main characters are females. At the same time, the poems involve the use of stylistic devices including alliteration, rhyme and figurative language.


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