The Long Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot

Decent Essays

T.S. Eliot characterizes his speaker in “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” based on his own personal experiences. In 1915, Eliot wrote one of his most famous poems as a skeptic (Schneider 1103). He constantly questioned the meaning of human life and the reasons why human beings were created at all. In the same way, Prufrock also has a difficult time in finding the purpose of his long life. The speaker of this poem takes the reader on a journey so that maybe the listener can aid him in finding meaning to his life. Throughout T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” the narrator is overwhelmed by the nothingness in his life through the characterization of himself, the wandering to many different settings, and the feeling of death approaching him.
First, Prufrock does not think too highly of himself. He states that he is “not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be” (Eliot 111). Prufrock considers himself an ordinary person and does not want to be treated as exceptional. According to Margaret Morton Blum, T.S. Eliot may have developed his main character by studying William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Blum points out that Prufrock has a similar mindset as Yorick, a foolish character in Shakespeare’s play (Blum 424). Both Prufrock and Yorick believe that the world and everything in it is worthless. Constantly throughout the poem, the main character is becoming aware of his balding head. He cannot find confidence in himself because he is losing hair and is worried that he is

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