Explication of T.S. Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"
In T.S. Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," the author is establishing the trouble the narrator is having dealing with middle age. Prufrock(the narrator) believes that age is a burden and is deeply troubled by it.. His love of some women cannot be because he feels the prime of his life is over. His preoccupation with the passing of time characterizes the fear of aging he has. The poem deals with the aging and fears associated with it of the narrator. The themes of insecurity and time are concentrated on. This insecurity is definitely a hindrance for him. It holds him back from doing the things he wishes to do. This is the sort of characteristic that makes Alfred into a tragic, doomed character. He will not find happiness until he finds self-assurance within himself. The repetition of words like vision and revision, show his feelings of inadequacy in communicating with the people around him.
The rhyme scheme Elliot uses in this poem depicts the disenchanted and confused mind of the narrator. The poem is written using a non-uniform meter and rhyme. Various stanzas are not of uniform length. This method is probably used to represent the mood and feelings in the verse. Prufrock is feeling confused and overwhelmed by the adversities of life so his thought probably has the same types of characteristics. His thoughts lead to ambiguity such as at the start of the poem. "There you go then, you and I"(1) This could be referring to Prufrock and himself, or Prufrock and his lover.
On the way, Prufrock deliberates on whether he can find value in the cold superficial environment, and ask the question, "Do I dare/ Disturb the universe?"(45). He feels if he can gain the courage to ask the question, he may at last find value in his life: "would it have been worth while/ To have bitten off the matter with a smile,? To have squeezed the universe into a ball."(89) Ultimately, he fails at both tasks. Throughout the poem, the themes of time's passage and age continue to illustrate the unhappiness of Prufrock's life. Prufrock reveals the measured out portions of life he has lived: "I have measured out my life in coffee spoons."(51) This phrase shows Prufrock's inability to seize the day. He also says such things as the of his thinning hair and his resulting bald spot in order to indicate the passage of age and the importance he feels now that he is past his prime: "Time to turn back and descend the stair,/ With a bald spot in the middle of my hair--/ (They will say: 'How his hair is growing thin')"(39) This...