Themes Of The Love Song Of Alf

835 words - 3 pages

In "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," T.S. Eliot uses allusions as well as imagery to develop his theme that life is too short to allow fear's hesitation to stop us from living true to dreams of happiness because we will all be judged in the end. This multi-layered poem is the internal monologue of the character J. Alfred Prufrock. Prufrock is a man who has let his daydreams cripple him with self-doubt and illusions of failure. He is a character who cannot reconcile his thoughts and understanding with his feelings and will. He allows his fears of being labeled to paralyze his actions. Prufrock's character seems too pitiful to be tragic. Eliot does not directly say what the character Prufrock is feeling; instead he utilizes the works of others, such as Dante, to clarify his thoughts and his "universe." The beginning of the poem is from Dante's Inferno. The original work describes a hellish place where spirits are in the forms of flames and the character is asked to describe his life. He tells his story only because he believes no one will hear it. By alluding to Dante's "Inferno", Eliot has accomplished two things. The first was to set the tortured and torn tone of Prufrock's mind as well as the poem. The second was to hint at the theme; live true to ones self because we will not return to this earth.Eliot chooses to portray Prufrock as having a fragile self-image. He does not feel that he deserves a lover. His self-image is show in lines 41 and 45 when he imagines that the women are remarking about how bald and thin he is. Lines 55 and 56 shown that he is being judged. "I have known the eyes…The eyes that fix you in a formulate phrase". He can tell that he is being labeled by the way people look at him. The thought of being labeled frightens him. This is further expressed by the imagery of him "pinned and wriggling on the wall." He feels that he is being labeled a bug and being studied under the scrutiny of a microscope. The repeated line, "women come and go talking of Michelangelo" also indicates that he is being compared to someone that he has no hope of competing. The repetition of this line indicates that Prufrock finds this tedious because he has experienced it so often. Therefore, three words "Among the porcelain" adds a deeper...

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