"Prufrock" can be viewed as a representative character; whether he is meant to specifically represent the author or mankind in general we can only speculate. However, comparisons between the character of "Prufrock" and Eliot himself beg to be made. Eliot's earlier signature was "T. Stearns Eliot"closely resembling that of his meticulously developed character in the poem. Eliot privately expressed frustration to friends that he was still a virgin at age 26, and had great difficulty interacting with women, which is the subject at the root of this poem.
Eliot opens the poem with a passage from Dante's Inferno, specifically the passage in which Guido da Montefeltro agrees to tell Dante his personal story solely because Dante, too, is in Hell with no hope of return just like himself. This suggests that Prufrock is one of the damned and intends to speak only to those who are in his same situation. The poem itself opens with the line "Let us go then, you and I" (Eliot, line1), which can be interpreted as "you, who are like me." It is as though Eliot is inviting those of his like-mind and in the same metaphorical "hell" to accompany him through this poem just as Guido da Montelfeltro did with Dante. Eliot, or "Prufrock," proceeds to take the reader through "certain half-deserted streets" (Eliot, line 4) in a night that is described to be "like a patient etherized... [continues]
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