The Love Song of J.Alfred Prufrock Essay

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The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock T. S. ELIOT Questions for Discussion 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? Prufrock laments that the mermaids will not sing to him. Prufrock's dilemma represents the inability to live a meaningful existence in the modern world.[24] McCoy and Harlan wrote "For many readers in the 1920s, Prufrock seemed to epitomize the frustration and impotence of the modern individual. He seemed to represent thwarted desires and modern disillusionment."[22] poem uses the stream of consciousness technique. "If I but…show more content…
4. One of the most demanding aspects of this poem is its allusions, as Eliot expected his readers to be as well educated as he was. Some allusions are fairly accessible. The allusions to Michelangelo—an artist most people are familiar with—in line 14 and again in line 36 help us imagine the women Prufrock is talking about. The function of the less accessible allusions—such as “works and days of hands” (l. 29)—may serve a different purpose. Why might Eliot have included such esoteric allusions? How do they affect your reading of the poem? Allusions aptly incorporated lend a rich penumbra of meaning and significance to the use of only few words. Granted, the average and even the above average reader will need footnotes to know the situation of Guido da Montefeltro, to understand the prefatory Italian of the poem, and to sort out which biblical Lazarus Eliot alludes to. Less demanding are the references to Shakespeare, Marvell, and Michelangelo. But recognition of allusions brings delight and a sense of intimate understanding between reader and author. The use of allusions bring a sense of intimacy between reader and author. Prufrock wishes to be comforted. 5. Consider the title of the poem. How is it ironic? In what ways is the poem a love song? The title is actually the only place where Prufrock’s name is mentioned – in the poem he talks about himself in the first person. Eliot is clearly poking fun of himself with this title – as a young man he signed
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