The Love Song Of J. Alfred Prufrock

1051 words - 4 pages

T.S. Eliot exposes the reflections and emotions of J. Alfred Prufrock in this poem about his Love Song. Eliot does this in such a manner that Prufrock himself would not be capable of expressing, due to his rationale of showing the reader Prufrock’s diffidence throughout the poem. The attention of the reader is drawn from the beginning by Eliot’s utilization of an epigraph, which is a short saying or quote placed at the beginning of a writing to imply a theme. Eliot’s method of an epigraph helps create an effective way for the readers to identify and notice Prufrock’s uncertainty and lack of confidence in the poem. In lines 61-66, illustrated below, one can see the epigraph that Eliot uses, which is derived from Dante’s Inferno:
S'io credesse che mia risposta fosse
A persona che mai tornasse al mondo,
Questa fiamma staria senza piu scosse.
Ma perciocche giammai di questo fondo
Non torno vivo alcun, s'i'odo il vero,
Senza tema d'infamia ti rispondo. (61-66)
In the first stanza of the entire poem, Eliot opens up by saying, “LET us go then, you and I,” he relates to the audience as you by doing this. Therefore, whatever he states throughout this reading is addressing another individual. This is why this poem resembles that of a monologue and by comparing this poem to Dante’s Inferno, Eliot sets this apart from ordinary monologues.
Lines 13-14 & 35-36, “In the room the women come and go/ Talking of Michelangelo”, Eliot situates a scene that is categorized by these repeated verses that occur twice in the same exact format. I believe this constantly repetitive line is setting the scene of some sort of social gathering and the reference of “Michelangelo” in it could resemble that the gathering is academically related and J. Alfred Prufrock is a student. In the following stanzas, more insight is given into the personality of J. Alfred Prufrock:
And indeed there will be time
To wonder, "Do I dare?" and, "Do I dare?"
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!"] (37-40)
After reading these stanzas, it seems as if Prufrock is inside a home contemplating whether he should enter a room he is standing in front of; however, he is not confident enough with himself, becomes shy, and leaves. Looking more closely in depth and in between the lines, one can analyze that Prufrock is a man with an overriding amount of fear and insecurity in the situation he finds himself in. Prufrock persuades himself into thinking that he has sufficient time and that he shouldn’t bother forcing his actions. Concerned with the bald spot on top of his head along with the perception of others, he question if he is daring enough to seek out his aspirations. However, due to his hesitation to act he arrives at a consensus to leave the party. In lines 49-50 “For I have known them all already, known them all-- / Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons” Eliot uses the misery and memories...

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