Aftermath

Compelled by calamity's magnet
They loiter and stare as if the house
Burnt-out were theirs, or as if they thought
Some scandal might any minute ooze
From a smoke-choked closet into light;
No deaths, no prodigious injuries
Glut these hunters after an old meat,
Blood-spoor of the austere tragedies.

Mother Medea in a green smock
Moves humbly as any housewife through
Her ruined apartments, taking stock
Of charred shoes, the sodden upholstery:
Cheated of the pyre and the rack,
The crowd sucks her last tear and turns away.

by Sylvia Plath

Comments (3)

I think the poem is about the unwanted attention that was attracted by Plath's abandonment by husband, Ted Hughes. Also, the way human nature attracts us to tragedy. She talks about how people 'loiter and stare as if the house burnt down was theirs'. This could mean that people, friends and family, watch for Plaths response to the abandonment, perhaps expecting her to breakdown. She later says 'moves humbly as any housewife through her ruined apartments, taking stock of charred shoes'. This could be an extended metaphor for how Plath gathers up the peices of her life and continues on without Hughes. 'Medea' in greek mythology is a princess who deceived her father by aiding Jason obtain the golden fleece and then marrying him. They had two children (as did Plath) , but Jason betrays Medea by abandoning her for another princess. Medea seeks revenge by killing the princess, and then her own two children. This story is too likened to Plaths situation... then Plath finishes the poem 'the crowd sucks her last tear and turns away'. This could mean that thw people observing her are now no longer concerned, have lost appeal, ready for another juicy scandal.
in my opinion, this poem is about how the exterior world affect our soul, our perception, it degrades us, it destroys our way of being. they stare at us, the suck the tear, the LAST tear, (= the salvation) and then they turn away.it discusses the consequence of the unwanted interaction with the others
What does this poem mean and what does themes does it discuss.