The Pitiful Prufrock Of The Love Song Of J. Alfred Prufrock

1419 words - 6 pages

The Pitiful Prufrock of The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

 

     T.S. Elliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," is a melancholy poem

of one man's  frustrated search to find the meaning of his existence.  The

speaker's strong use of imagery contributes to the poems theme of communion and

loneliness.

The Poem begins with an invitation from Prufrock to follow him

through his self-examination. The imagery of this invitation begins with a

startling simile, "Let us go then you and I/ When the evening is spread out

against the sky/ Like a patient etherised upon a table." This simile literally

describes the evening sky, but functions on another level. Prufrock's

description of the "etherised"  evening indicates an altering of perception, and

an altering of time, which creates a dreamlike quality throughout the poem.

This dreamlike quality is supported throughout the poem with the "yellow fog"

that contributes to the slowed-down-etherised feeling of the poem. Time and

perception are effectively "etherised" in this poem. 

 

It is almost as if the

poem is a suspended moment of realization of one man's life, "spread out against

the sky". The imagery of the patient represents Prufrock's self-examination.

Furthermore, the imagery of the "etherised patient" denotes a person waiting for

treatment. It seems this treatment will be Prufrock's examination of himself and

his life. Prufrock repeats his invitation and asks the reader to follow him

through a cold and lonely setting that seems to be the Prufrock's domain.  The

imagery of the journey through the  city is described  as  pointed to lead the

reader (and more accurately Prufrock) to an overwhelming question. Prufrock's

description of the urban city is quite dreary: " Let us go, through certain

half-deserted streets,/ The muttering retreats/ Of restless nights in one-night

cheap hotels/ And sawdust restaurants with oyster shells;/ Streets that follow

like a tedious argument/ Of insidious intent."  This is the lonely setting that

Prufrock lives out his meager existence.  This city is suspended under the same

anesthesia that spreads the evening like an "etherised patient." Prufrock

moves his attention from the city to his final destination; "the room the women

come and go/ Speaking of Michealangelo."  This couplet contrasts with the

previous urban landscape and adds anticipation to the ominous tension

surrounding the event. This line also is about time.  The couplet suggests that

Prufrock has been around to see these women "come and go," implying Prufrock has

been situated in the high societal environment for some time.  The line also

implies that while others have come and gone from the social circles Prufrock is

a part of; Prufrock has stayed stagnating.   

 

On the way, Prufrock deliberates

on whether...

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