Double Self In Eliot's Love Song Of Prufrock

1507 words - 6 pages

The idea of the Double-self in Love song of J.Alfred Prufrock. First published in June 1915 in the Chicago Magazine Poetry, ''The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock'' was composed by Thomas Stearns Eliot in 1909.Later, the poem appeared in a collection called ''Prufrock and Observations''(1917) which established Eliot's identity as a Modernist poet. This was due to the employment of unusual themes,imageries, and techniques in his work of art. The protagonist or the speaker in the poem is presumably an effeminate,emasculated,indecisive ,middle-aged man wandering around the streets in a state of dilemma . The dilemma points to the flow and rapidity of time. The themes around which the poem revolves are fragmentation, alienation,paralysis as in unable to act, debasement etc., all of which expresse the Modernist stance taken up by the poet.The style is a sort of mosaic or collage arising from mental associations. The syntax is also characterised by a sequence of interconnected clauses and phrases possessing some relation of subordination to another element . A form of Self-Reflexivity is identified through the speaker's way of addressal. Eliot expresses a modernist perspective through a 'double-self' in the poem aided by techniques of narration , alienation or distancing oneself as an observer, delving inside the consciousness etc., In the ensuing discussion, each technique would be emulated in order to explore the ways in which the poet's voice merges with the speaker and its consciousness spreads to the characters in the poem.The flow of thoughts and consciousness is called by the critics as the technique called ''Stream of Consciousness''.Eliot deploys this technique to delve deep inside the consciousness of Prufrock and later to others present in the poem.The speaker patently not the poet expresses his private thoughts to many characters that in a way enhances his temperament.These features constitutes the formation of a form called 'Dramatic Monologue'. Prufrock is shown to experience a sense of 'Alienation'or exclusion from the scenario he presents. He acts like an observer who observes and wishes that he'' should have been ragged claws,scuttled across''. There is a silent rush inside the speaker's mind which stands in contrast with the peaceful environment. The Epigraph at the outset of the poem is from Dante's' Inferno', Canto 27, which is to give Prufrock's monologue an analogy with a confession. Critics like F.O.Matthiesen in his work,''The Achievement of T.S. Eliot'' writes that Eliot's conceits sometimes have the look of being too studied; that is to say, of coming into existence not because the poet's mind has actually felt keenly an unexpected similarity between unlikes, but as though he too consciously set out to shock the reader. Such an objection might be made against the opening lines of Prufrock: Let us go then, you and I, when the evening is spread out against the sky like a patient etherised upon a table." Matthiessen continues: "...

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