A sad case indeed. Born in Boston, 1932. Suicide in London 1963. Became a post-humous "lege." A frigid, snowy, dark, dank, soggy, dreary London winter (that would be justification enough for the suicide!)  found Sylvia living on the top floors of a house at 23 Fitzroy Road, London N.W.  Husband Ted Hughes (since honored with Poet Laureate status in Britain, and also since, deceased l998), had separated from her 6 months before, leaving her with a 2 l/2 year old daughter and a 9 month old son.  All that autumn, she had written poems and a breakneck pace, mainly poems about what was happening to her.
  Some of the titles reflect her mental state: "Fever l03", "The Night Dances", "Thalidomide", "Death & Co.", "Cut." She wanted to hit back at Ted, and her pen was her sharpest weapon.  Ted, meanwhile, was having an affair with the thrice-married Assia Wevill.
  Her family doctor was frantically trying to get her help, but the inpatient mental hospitals were packed. There wasn't much by way of psychopharm those days: a couple of uppers, a handful of downers, thorazine, and the good old Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitor antidepressants which can cause a crises if you even eat a cheese pizza. Sylvia's sleeping pills didn't do very much.  On the fateful day, 11 February 1963, in the wee hours of the morning, Sylvia threw open the windows of the children's bedroom and taped up the doors in the kitchen, turned on the gas jets and stuck her head inside. In the process, she nearly gassed out her downstairs neighbor, because

the gas was heavier than air and descended.
  When Sylvia was 8, her father committed an unforgivable sin. He died. Refusing to see a doctor because he thought he had (untreatable) cancer, he finally succumbed to (theoretically treatable) diabetes.  Sylvia stayed angry. She found some success submitting poems to a variety of publications through her schoolgirl days, but she was also battered by rejection slips. In her early twenties, she evoked serious concern. One day she missed an unscheduled luncheon meeting with Dylan Thomas and stalked the poet all through his favorite drinking  dives. (Just an aside: In 1953 Thomas, heavily into the Bottle, was found dead at the Hotel Chelsea, 222 W. 23rd Street, New York).
  One day Sylvia's mother saw scars all over her legs and Sylvia said she wanted to die. Psychiatric help was obtained, including Electro-Convulsive Therapy. On August 24, l953, Sylvia pretended to run away from home, hid in a sub-basement of her mother's house and ingested 40 pills. While the story of her disappearance ran in local papers, she lay close to death , finally let out an audible moan, and was rushed to the hospital. Later, at a mental hospital, the treatment was more ECT plus talk therapy.
  Sylvia traveled to England on the QEII to study at Cambridge. She met friends, found and lost some relationships, and each loss seemed to throw her mind back to the loss of her father. At one of the literary parties, she met Ted Hughes. Later, they married but kept it a secret for awhile, not knowing how it would affect Sylvia's student stipend.
  Sylvia and Ted had a healthy interest in the occult: astrology, seances, ouiji boards, evoking spirits.  Living in a small flat in London in l960, Sylvia and Ted had a special highlight; a dinner with T.S. Eliot and his (2nd) wife. Sylvia was having some literary success. She had already written
The Bell Jar,  about a bright young woman who had a breakdown and had ECT. She was now working on another novel, about a bright young woman from America who moved to England  and got married.
  It all began with a phone call. Ted Hughes dashed to grab the phone first, but Sylvia got it. It was Assia, and she was not ringing for Sylvia. Sylvia overreacted a bit. She jerked the phone from the wall, tore up and burned the only copy of her fledgling novel, burnt 1000 letters from her mother. , burnt boxes of Ted's letters and some drafts of his poems. He moved out and began acting ugly.
  Then came that cold, cruel February day.
  Assia tried to take Sylvia's place and did a pretty decent job of it. She sought out the same friends. She looked up the same doctor. She and Ted went to live at the home where Sylvia had stuck her head into the oven. And in l969 she did the same thing.  Ted Hughes took a bad rap over the fact that both his wife and his lover had committed suicide. In the eyes of some, it made the man look badů
 
On March 16, 2009, Plath's son, age 47, committed suicide by hanging.  Dr. Nicholas Hughes had worked as Professor of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences at the University of Anchorage in Alaska until shortly before his death.  Hughes was unmarried. His sister, Frieda, said that her brother had had problems with depression, a disease not unknown to Frieda herself.   Frieda is a successful writer, poet and artist. As of 2007, she was living in Wales with her artist husband, Laszlo Kukacs.
  In a past interview, Frieda stated that she had not learned the mode of her mother's death until age 14, when she and a friend were studying Sylvia for a literature course. Frieda, as an older child, sometimes denied her identity, later noting in a poem that her mother's suicide and people's fascination with it had frozen her  and her brother's ages forever at 2 l/2 years and 9 months old respectively.

 Doomsday

The idiot bird leaps out and drunken leans
Atop the broken universal clock:
The hour is crowed in lunatic thirteens.
Out painted stages fall apart by scenes
While all the actors halt in mortal shock:
The idiot bird leaps out and drunken leans.

Streets crack through in havoc-split ravines
As the doomstruck city crumbles block by block:
The hour is crowed in lunatic thirteens.

Fractured glass flies down in smithereens;
Our lucky relics have been put in hock:
The idiot bird leaps out and drunken leans.

The monkey's wrench has blasted all machines;
We never thought to hear the holy cock:
The hour is crowed in lunatic thirteens.

Too late to ask if end was worth the means,
Too late to calculate the toppling stock:
The idiot bird leaps out and drunken leans,
The hour is crowed in lunatic thirteens.

The Dead

Revolving in oval loops of solar speed,
Couched in cauls of clay as in holy robes,
Dead men render love and war no heed,
Lulled in the ample womb of the full-tilt globe.

No spiritual Caesars are these dead;
They want no proud paternal kingdom come;
And when at last they blunder into bed
World-wrecked, they seek only oblivion.

Rolled round with goodly loam and cradled deep,
These bone shanks will not wake immaculate
To trumpet-toppling dawn of doomstruck day :
They loll forever in colossal sleep;
Nor can God's stern, shocked angels cry them up
From their fond, final, infamous decay.


Edge (written shortly before death)

The woman is perfected.
Her dead
Body wears the smile of accomplishment,
The illusion of a Greek necessity
Flows in the scrolls of her toga,
Her bare
Feet seem to be saying:
We have come so far, it is over.
Each dead child coiled, a white serpent,
One at each little
Pitcher of milk, now empty.
She has folded
Them back into her body as petals
Of a rose close when the garden
Stiffens and odors bleed
From the sweet, deep throats of the night flower.
The moon has nothing to be sad about,
Staring from her hood of bone.
She is used to this sort of thing.
Her blacks crackle and drag.