The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot Essay example

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


The poetry of the modernist movement is characterized by an emphasis on the alienation of the individual from the broader community in which he or she exists. In the works of T. S. Eliot, this alienation is expressed as a symptom of spiritual and moral decay within communities, societies, and entire civilizations. Eliot’s modernism, which was strongly influenced by his conversion to Anglo-Catholicism, is a harsh critique of the pervasive self-obsession of the modern secular world.

In any discussion of modernist poetry, it is crucial to remember that technology was advancing at a rapid pace during the beginning of the twentieth century. Mechanical inventions, from electric
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In this regard, he represents the pathetic everyman of the modern world.

Prufrock is a cowardly, narcissistic, neurotic cipher of a person. He is spiritually bankrupt, and therefore alienated from everyone around him. The poem itself, which superficially appears to be no more than a random accumulation of stream-of-consciousness images, is Prufrock’s secret confession of his own feelings of shame, worthlessness and inadequacy. The first stanza, which is an un-translated quotation of Dante, is from a scene in the Inferno when one of the damned, consumed in a column of fire, reveals information to Dante that he would hesitate to disclose if not for his certainty that no one else will ever learn it (Cousineau). His certainty is based on the fact that no one has ever escaped from his depth of the inferno. Likewise, Prufrock confesses his innermost thoughts and neuroses only because he believes that none of his social circle will ever learn his secrets.

The repetition of the lines “In the room the women come and go/ Talking of Michelangelo” sets a tone of ennui. The reader can envision upper-class matrons strolling through a museum, prattling about Renaissance art because they have nothing better to discuss. With this existential image, Eliot presents modern life as an incessant parade of days and nights spent in idle chatter. Because people no longer have any meaningful connections to one another,…