Paralysis, the incapability to act, has been a key element of many famous literary characters. Shakespeare’s Hamlet is the paragon of paralysis, unable to sort through his thoughts, Hamlet only makes one decisive action, at the end of the play. T.S Elliot’s transfers Hamlets’ paralysis in his poem The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. The name Elliot chose for this indecisive, timid man epitomizes his character as well as his flaws. J. Alfred Prufrock needs this ranting monologue in order for him to understand the severity of his paralysis and fear of women and society.
In his poem Eliot paints the picture of an insecure man looking for his niche in society. Prufrock has fallen in with the times, and places a lot of weight on social status and class to determine his identity. He is ashamed of his personal appearance and looks towards social advancement as a way to assure himself and those around him of his worth and establish who he is. Throughout the poem the reader comes to realize that Prufrock has actually all but given up on himself and now sees his balding head and realizes that he has wasted his life striving for an unattainable goal.
T.S. Eliot, a notable twentieth century poet, wrote often about the modern man and his incapacity to make decisive movements. In his work entitled, 'The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock'; he continues this theme allowing the reader to view the world as he sees it, a world of isolation and fear strangling the will of the modern man. The poem opens with a quoted passage from Dante's Inferno, an allusion to Dante's character who speaks from Hell only because he believes that the listener can not return to earth and thereby is impotent to act on the knowledge of his conversation. In his work, Eliot uses this quotation to foreshadow the idea that his
In “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” the main character of the poem, Prufrock, expresses the theme of isolation and introduces the reader to his sense of feeling isolated because of how he thinks he is perceived by others. Prufrock’s search to end his isolation is shown by the conversational monologue that he carries out as he searches for a way to connect with other people. Prufrock’s isolation is shown through both an epigraph from Dante and multiple types of imagery spread throughout the poem such as music, sex, and nature.
Eliot begins “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by using an epigram from Dante’s Inferno to set the theme of the poem. By alluding to a story about a journey through Hell, readers can infer that Prufrock will also take readers on a journey through Hell, only this time it is a living hell. Upon examining the first couple of stanzas, it is clear that Prufrock is afraid of living his life, so much so, that time has become illusory to him. Eliot writes, “Time for you and me, and time for a hundred indecisions, and for a hundred visions and revisions, before the taking of a toast and tea” (369). The poetic device of repetition to portray never-ending time proves Prufrock fools himself into believing he has all the time in the
The human psyche has perpetually been characterized by a nagging sense of doubt. When one makes the decision to follow through (or, rather, not follow through) with an action, it is unlikely that he does so without questioning whether he made the right choice; this is recurring theme in literature, evident in works such as Crime and Punishment and A Separate Peace. T.S. Eliot’s The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock explores the universal nature of hesitation and self-doubt as part of the human condition primarily through apt use of metaphor, syntax, and allusion.
T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” is an ironic depiction of a man’s inability to take decisive action in a modern society that is void of meaningful human connection. The poem reinforces its central idea through the techniques of fragmentation, and through the use of Eliot’s commentary about Prufrock’s social world. Using a series of natural images, Eliot uses fragmentation to show Prufrock’s inability to act, as well as his fear of society. Eliot’s commentary about Prufrock’s social world is also evident throughout. At no point in the poem did Prufrock confess his love, even though it is called “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”, but through this poem, T.S. Eliot voices his social commentary about the world that
T.S. Eliot’s poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” is inhabited by both a richly developed world and character and one is able to categorize the spaces in “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” to correspond to Prufrock’s mind. Eliot uses the architecture of the three locations described in the text to explore parts of Prufrock's mind in the Freudian categories of id, ego, and super-ego; the city that is described becomes the Ego, the room where he encounters women his Id and the imagined ocean spaces his Super Ego.
1. How does the epigraph from Dante’s Inferno help Eliot comment on the modern world in“The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”? What does it tell us about the setting of this poem? How is Montefeltro’s miscalculation related to the poem?
T.S Eliot's The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock is an examination of human insecurity and folly, embodied in the title's J. Alfred Prufrock. Eliot's story of a man's "overwhelming question", his inability to ask it, and consequently, his mental rejection plays off the poem's many ambiguities, both structural and literal. Eliot uses these uncertainties to develop both the plot of the poem and the character of J. Alfred Prufrock.
In "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," T. S. Eliot reveals the silent insecurity of a man, for whom the passing of time indicates the loss of virility and confidence. Throughout the poem, Prufrock struggles with his fear of inadequacy, which surfaces socially, physically and romantically. The desire to ask some "overwhelming question," of the one he wants is outweighed by his diffidence, reinforcing his belief in his shortcomings. Ultimately, this poem is the internal soliloquy of someone who attempts to know what he wants and how to get it, but whose social paralysis and lack of self-assuredness prevents either of these possibilities.
“The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T. S. Eliot is a poem I would not recommend anyone still trying to hang on to his or her youth. T. S. Eliot’s poem, about a man named J. Alfred Prufrock, is a pessimistic poem looking at the seemingly wasted life of an aging man. The poem is told from the viewpoint of a very sad man named J. Alfred Prufrock. The poem takes place in the city of St. Louis, which T. S. Eliot does not portray in a very good light. T. S Eliot’s creation of a depressing mood, powerful metaphors, and the character of J. Alfred Prufrock all result in a very disheartening poem, not enjoyable to the middle-aged reader, especially male readers.
Prufrock begins his “Love” song with a peculiar quote from Dante’s Divine Comedy. It reads: “If I believed that my answer were to a person who could ever return to the world, this flame would no longer quiver. But because no one ever returned from this depth, if what I hear is true, without fear of infamy, I answer you.” In the Divine Comedy these lines are spoken by a damned soul who had sought absolution before committing a crime. I think that Eliot chose this quote to show that Prufrock is also looking for absolution, but for what he is unsure.
When reading the title of T.S Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” it is believed we are in store for a poem of romance and hope. A song that will inspire embrace and warmth of the heart, regretfully this is could not be further from the truth. This poem takes us into the depths of J. Alfred Prufrock, someone who holds faltering doubt and as a result may never come to understand real love. “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” takes us through Prufrock’s mindset and his self-doubting and self-defeating thoughts. With desolate imagery, a tone that is known through the ages and delicate diction we see a man who is insecure, tentative and completely fearful.
T.S. Eliot’s poem, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” illustrates the poet’s fear of the fragmentation of modern society. In the poem, Eliot creates the persona of his speaker, J. Alfred Prufrock. Prufrock is speaking to an unknown listener. The persona of Prufrock is Eliot’s interpretation of Western society and its impotency at the beginning of the Twentieth Century. His views are modernistic, which idolize the classical forms while incorporating new ideas about psychology and the subconscious. Eliot illustrates his contempt for the faithlessness of modern society by illustrating its fragmentation with synecdoche, characterization of Prufrock, and allusions to literary traditions throughout the narrative. In his poem, Eliot illustrates his view of a great tradition that he is witnessing as it falls apart.