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T.S. Eliot'S "The Love Song Of J. Alfred Prurock" Analysis

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T.S. Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prurock" Analysis

In T. S. Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," the author is establishing the danger the narrator is having dealing with getting older. Prufrock is the narrator in this poem, and believes that age is a burden and is totally troubled by it. He feels the prime of his life is over and he can't love women the way he used to. His worry with the passing of time characterizes his fear of aging. The poem deals with these fears.

In this poem, Prufrock feels unsure about himself. He is frightened of what people will say when they see his balding head and aging body. He also believes that everyone will think he is old and worthless and they will talk about him behind his back. "They will say "How his hair is growing thin!" My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin, My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin-- [They will say: "But how his arms and legs are thin!"]" His insecurity is certainly noticeable and sad and it holds him back from doing the things he wishes to do. This type of behavior is what makes Alfred into a heartbreaking, hopeless character. He will not find happiness until he gains more self-esteem about himself. When he keeps repeating words like vision and revision it shows his feelings of inadequacy in communicating with people around him.

J. Alfred Prufrock's lack of self esteem, also affects his love life. The woman he is in love with is younger than him, and it upsets him. He feels that it's hard to believe that some younger women could possibly still want him or find him attractive. Expressing any kind of love to her is uncomfortable and hard. Prufrock knows what he must say but cannot bring himself to say it. "Should I, after tea and cakes and ices, Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?"(79-80) His agitation in his love life, is very upsetting to him. He really wants to express his affection but he doesn't know how. He compares himself to Lazarus who was an aged man restored to life by Jesus. "To say: I am Lazarus, come from the dead, Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all" If one, settling a pillow by her head, Should day: "That is not what I meant at all. That is not it, at." (94-98)

The rhyme scheme Elliot uses in this poem depicts the disappointed 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 used to represent the mood and feelings in the verse. Prufrock is feeling confused and overwhelmed by the difficulties of life, so it is normal that his thought will have the same types of characteristics. His thoughts lead to uncertainty 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.

Elliot wrote this poem in a time when public society was still considered an issue. He uses obvious images of different classes in order to show these dissimilarities. The lower class lived a inadequate, dull and expected life. They spend "restless nights in one-night cheap hotels."(6) The rich on the other hand are educated and enjoy life every day. They are busy and activity around happily in order to get things done.

The argument in Prufrock's mind finally comes to an end when he try to compare himself to Prince Hamlet from William Shakespeare's masterpiece "Hamlet". Hamlet was able to express his love and J. Alfred was envious of that. "No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was it meant to be"(111) He feels he is more like an old attendant to Lord Hamlet who is intelligent, clever, and willing to please. Prufrock decides he is discreet, conscientious, and strives for perfection; however, at the same time he tends to need some sort of mental control and worries he is looking like a fool. This is the conclusion he reaches in order to decide to accept his place



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