The Rival : summary

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The Rival is a notable literary work by Sylvia Plath. A complete discussion of this literary work is given, which will help you enhance your literary skills and prepare for the exam. Read the main text, key info, Summary, Themes, Characters, Literary Devices, Quotations, Notes, to various questions of The Rival.


The Rival” by Sylvia Plath (1932 – 1963) is a poem about jealousy and competition between two women. The poem tells the story of a speaker jealous of another woman. Her rival has everything the speaker desires with all her heart. The rival woman is beautiful, confident, and perfect in every way. On the other hand, the speaker is insecure and unhappy with her own life.

Qualities of the Speaker’s Rival: The speaker clearly describes the qualities of her rival, such as her physical beauty and how she effortlessly attracts attention. The speaker suffers from jealousy and cannot appreciate the positive aspects of her own life. The poem’s speaker is so jealous that she cannot bear to be around another woman. She tries to avoid her, but she sees a rival woman everywhere. She can’t avoid her.

At one point, the speaker realizes that her jealousy is consuming her. She can’t think of anything but other women. She even starts comparing herself with other women in her dreams.

Haunting Image of the Death of the Speaker’s Rival: As the poem progresses, the speaker becomes increasingly restless and hopeless. She imagines various situations in which the rival woman might fail or suffer, and she enjoys the thought. The speaker’s jealousy and bitterness ultimately lead her to a dark place. The poem ends with a haunting image of the death of the speaker’s rival.