Discuss How The Human Condition Is Explored By Eliot As A Struggle For Fulfillment In A Meaningless World.

938 words - 4 pages

The Human Condition can be defined as any experiences or emotions that makes us mortal, such as faith, love, suffering, weakness etc. Eliot uses dramatic monologue to reveal the character's soul to us. As the reader, we follow Prufrock through the streets as he describes the city while he ponders whether or not he should ask the all-important question. As the poem unfolds, it is revealed that the character is a middle-aged man who pines for love, but lacks self worth and fears rejection. These are all strong elements of the human condition that are explored throughout the poem. Through the use of imagery, Eliot describes a mundane, meaningless world in which Prufrock is isolated and alone in his miseries. This, coupled with his human weaknesses ultimately costs him the chance for happiness.The poem tells the inner feelings of a man who's in love, but realizes that his feeling may well be unrequited. His own descriptions of himself such as "a bald spot in the middle of my hair" and "I grow old...I grow old.../I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled", tells us that that he's a middle-aged man, with an overwhelming fear and insecurity of his position. He's worried about other people commenting on how "his hair is growing thin!" and "how his arms and legs are thin!" He acknowledges his inadequacies, and dresses modestly and appropriately to compensate for that."And I have known the arms already, known them all--.../ Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl." (Lines 62-67) shows that Prufrock has had relationships with women. He finds them attractive and is taken by their appearance. The passage indicates that he's had experiences with the same problems in confessing his love before, since he has "known them already". References to "white and bare" hints that the woman he's currently in love with is young and attractive. Prufrock is well aware of the fact that he's aging and that the woman he loves is very much younger than he is. He is afraid to talk to her, or ask the question because he's afraid that he won't be able to express himself properly, which may result in a misunderstanding ("That is not it at all/ That is not what I meant at all"). This is ironic because as the readers we can obviously see that he expresses his thoughts and feelings beautifully and eloquently. It's this lack of self worth that contributes to his paralysis and further highlights the impossibility of his desires.Throughout the poem Prufrock constantly frets over the consequences of his proposal. Eliot shows the character's indecisions with the use of questions throughout the poem ("So how should I presume? And how should I begin?"), and comparing Prufrock to Hamlet. The poem...

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