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Ariel Summary & Analysis
by Sylvia Plath

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Sylvia Plath's "Ariel" was first published posthumously in a 1965 collection of the same title, which Plath had completed not long before her death in February 1963. In this free verse poem, a speaker sheds her inner burdens on a morning horseback ride, becoming one with the natural force she feels in her horse and the landscape. The speaker's liberating but dangerous ride has often been read as a metaphor for writing, female empowerment, and/or psychological instability—all subjects Plath understood intimately.

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