T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Story of J. Alfred Prufrock”
“The Love Story of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T.S. Eliot is an ironically titled poem that centers on a middle-aged man that question if love exists, and if so, if he is able to find it or even begin to look for it. The poem is not a love poem in the sense that it lacks the traditional image of love. J. Alfred Prufrock is an older man facing a mid-life crisis which is powered by his reluctance and uncertainties of others. Instead of love, the poem follows the stream of conscious of Prufrock and his lack of self-esteem. The poem is a continued record of a man that does not love himself or anyone else. He believes no one could ever love him; Prufrock also believes that no good will ever come to him. T.S. Eliot uses imagery to develop the poem and character of Prufrock along with Prufrock’s insecurity throughout the “love” poem.
“The Love Story of J. Alfred Prufrock” displays images to allow readers to follow along the stream of conscious Prufrock continuously reveals. Images contribute to the “overwhelming question” present in the poem and his failure to ask it (Eliot 1040). Also, Eliot uses images to further develop the poem’s plot and Prufrock’s character. As the poem opens, a quoted passage from Dante’s Inferno is presented. It is an allusion to Dante’s character from Hell. He communicates from Hell because he thinks that people cannot return to Earth. Eliot’s foreshadowing leads to Prufrock’s character in which he is stuck in his world; the world Prufrock inhabits in segregates him from others, especially women. This excerpt proposes Prufrock only speaks due to his belief that no one will listen; the section also alludes to Prufrock as a damned soul. Following the introduction from Dante’s Inferno, the poem starts with Prufrock summoning the readers to talk a stroll with him with “Let us go then, you and I” (Eliot 1040). The "you and I" incorporates the reader, proposing that by going with Prufrock is the...
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