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Transcript of Fever 103°
Sylvia Plath, 1962
The Poem Itself
Sylvia Plath wrote this poem in October 1962, days before the Cuban Missile Crisis began in the United States. She was actually sick at the time, but was also in great pain over discovering that her husband, Ted Hughes, was unfaithful.
Historical Background (part 1)
Historical Background (part 2)
Isadora Duncan is referenced in the beginning of Plath's poem as well. Duncan was an American dancer, born in California. However, she had pro-soviet sympathies, and thus was exiled out of the United States when she was 22. Duncan was different than the classical ballet dancers of the time, as she danced a "bohemian" and "self-expressing" style that audiences loved. She is famous in her death, as she was riding in a sports car convertible when the scarf she was wearing got tangled in the rear spokes of the wheel, and tightened around her neck,not only breaking it and strangling her, but dragging her out of the car. She was 50 years old.
Shelley Gullord, Katie Harvey, Alexa Ferrari, Mia Solis
Plath also references Hiroshima, one of the two Japanese cities bombed with the newly created atomic bomb in World War II.
Plath references Cerberus in the beginning of her poem. Cerberus is the Greek mythical guardian of the gate to the Underworld, under the control of Hades, god of the dead. Cerberus keeps the dead from leaving and monitors who goes in as well.