The Truth Behind The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
The Truth Behind "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"
The speaker of this ironic monologue is a modern man who, like many of his kind, feels isolated and incapable of decisive action. Irony is apparent from the title, for this is not a conventional love song. Prufrock would like to speak of love to a woman, but he does not have the nerve.
The poem opens with a quoted passage from Dante's INFERNO,
"If I thought that my reply would be to one who would ever
return to the world, this flame would stay without further
movement; but since none has ever returned alive from this
depth, if what I hear is true, I answer you without fear of
infamy.", meaning that Prufrock speaks only because he knows no one will pay attention to him and he won't be heard. Purfrock repeats certain phrases to clue the reader in that they are part of the story. "You and I" in the first line, suggest that you must be with him to understand his story. Furthermore, in line 12 Prufrock states, "Lets us go and make our visit" including the reader so he can follow along.
The beginning illustrates a run down neighborhood, where Prufrock resides. Describing cheap hotels and run down restaurants. Going back to line 12, the visit they make is to a place where women would gather to mingle, share a story and a drink. One hot topic would be of Michelangelo, a very creative, respected, and intelligent man, all of which, Prufrock was not. This is a direct comparison to Michelangelo, and shows that Prufrock doesn't think highly of himself.
The next stanza,
"The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the windowpanes
The yellow smoke that rub its muzzle on the windowpanes
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains
Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys
Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,
And seeing that it was a soft October night,
Curled once about the house, and fell asleep."
describes the evening when this gathering would take place. This night gives Prufrock the idea that he is now able to talk to women; however he is never able to make her understand his true feelings. In his conversations, Purfrock can never push pass polite...