December 13th, 2010
A Life Without Love, is No Life at All
As the flawed in protagonists of Shakespeare’s Hamlet and T.S Eliot’s poem The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, both Hamlet and Prufrock live in a times of disharmony. Feelings of passion are controlled by realistic tendencies and neither allows sensitivity to rule their order. This underlying journey or quest for female contact causes both characters to live meaningless lives eventually leading to harsh consequences. Eventually seeking the companionship of anyone that can fill their void of romance, they two are synced and remove themselves altogether from society. Both protagonists Hamlet and Prufrock embrace an anti-romantic outlook in their respective world, resulting in a loss of identity.
Both Hamlet and Prufrock experience rejection from their female love interests. As a youth of passion, Hamlet is truly in love with Ophelia and developed a significant relationship with her before she ends the bond. Filled with a loss of love, Hamlet is now empty. Prufrock differs in that he was never accepted in the social order of his times and his cowardice and awkwardness hinder any sort of female interaction, much less a love life. Hamlet and Prufrock are both faced with rejection when it comes to female love interests, contributing to a loss of identity and depression.
Hamlet comes home from Denmark a scholar, a son, and a lover only to be met with the new horrors of his life in the royal kingdom of Denmark. Not only faced with his uncle and father, the incestuous King Claudius, he is also met with the end of his relationship with young Ophelia. Hamlet’s loss of romance and only real relationship results in an empty and meaningless life. ‘Swounds, show me what thou’lt do.
Woo’t weep? Woo’t fight? Woo’t fast? Woo’t tear thyself? Woo’t drink up eisel, eat a crocodile?
I’ll do ’t. Dost thou come here to whine,
To outface me with leaping in her grave?
Be buried quick with her?—and so will I.
Hamlet feels as though he has no need to live anymore now that his true love Ophelia is dead. He has no more relationships to define him with everyone around him is a facsimile of a true friend, with the exception of Horatio. His loss of identity prompts him to jump into grave, wanting to be buried with his love. In Hamlet’s mind, nothing is now important and faces thoughts of suicide and death. While he favours death to be reunited with his love, Prufrock is desperately looking for love in his society.
Prufrock has no real substance in the society and as an outcast has never found true love. His status as a gentleman is in jeopardy and his physical features cause women around him to look at him in disgust. Prufrock desperately is at a loss of identity; with no physical features to vouch for him and no woman to confirm his adequacy he begins to criticize his loss of time and relationships For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.
For I have known them all already, known them all;
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons
Prufrock has held no real relationship with women and fails miserably as a man in this society. His inability to act on his passion stops growth within himself and contributes to his melancholy state of his life. Hamlet and Prufrock are at a loss with no woman to define them and hopelessness starting to set in. While Hamlet loses his love to madness, Prufrock loses himself in his incapability to find meaningful relationships with women. Both are at a state of restlessness and see themselves at a loss of character without a romantic relationship to define them with. Without real women to look to and learn from, Hamlet and Prufrock are united in their misogynistic treatment of women in their society. Both protagonists lose their chivalrous identity to due to the anti romantic outlook. Once he is rejected by...
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