The Love Song Of J. Alfred Prufrock

1051 WordsApr 9, 20155 Pages
“The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T.S. Eliot is not a love song at all—but an insight into the mind of an extremely self-conscious, middle-aged man. Prufrock struggles in coping with the world he is living in—a world where his differences make him feel lonely and alienated. Eliot uses allusions and imagery, characterization, and the society Prufrock lives in to present how Prufrock partly contributes to his own alienation. Our ability of self-awareness separates us from other species, making humans more intelligent and giving people the upper hand in social settings, but, like Prufrock, it can sometimes cause us to feel alienated. Eliot uses allusions and imagery to make several references to characters—both real and fictional—to vicariously show how Prufrock feels. The first allusion is an epigraph from Dante’s Inferno: If I believed that my response was heard by anyone returning to the world, this flame would stand and never stir again. But since no man has ever come alive out of this gulf of Hell, if I hear true, I’ll answer, with no fear of infamy. (Eliot) This allusion shows how Prufrock, like Guido da Montefeltro, is in his own hell. Feeling alienated and fearing social rejection, Prufrock compares himself to John the Baptist: “But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed / Though I have seen my head (grown slightly bald) brought in upon a platter, / I am no prophet” (Eliot 81-83). Prufrock imagining his head on a platter is representative of his fear

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