Eliot's Techniques to Convey Urban Alienation in The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock

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Eliot uses many poetry techniques to convey a sense of urban alienation throughout this poem. These techniques include description and imagery, contrast and irony, rhetorical questions and rhyming. These also reflect the spirit of the early twentieth century. Straight from the introduction of the poem, Eliot already starts to utilise imagery to describe the emotions and themes that the poem conveys. The line ‘Like a patient etherised upon a table’ suggests that there is something wrong with the evening, almost as if it were suffering or dying. As this simile is used very early in the poem, we are introduced to a persona living in a corrupted world, thus a sense of urban alienation. Later in the fourth stanza, the fog and smoke is said to be yellow, supernaturally describing the atmosphere as dirty and possibly sick, also contributing to this sense. As the poem progresses, Prufrock continually contrasts himself using irony and rhetorical questions, connoting that he is both indecisive and confused. Many times does Prufrock emphasise that he is afraid to confront the society, especially the women in it. However he then moves on to rhetorically ask ‘Do I dare?’ and, ‘Do I dare?’ suggesting that despite his fears and worries, he still is determined to redeem himself to his fears. Prufrock’s pessimistic and contrasting state of mind leads us to believe that the world is full of melancholy and confusion, thus an abnormal feeling that the world is alienated. Another example of contrast involves the use of rhyme and rhythm throughout the poem. In every stanza, there is some kind of rhyming that is used, however it does vary stanza to stanza. Rhyming is a technique that is used in many love songs, and although this poem itself is a love song, it is mainly about Prufrock’s struggle to make decisions, creating a connection with women as well as feeling insignificant in an overwhelming society that Prufrock much wants to be a part of, all of which definitely do not reflect...
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