TS Eliot is arguably one of the greatest English poets of the 20th century. His writing style focuses on the human psyche and personal experiences of the personas in the poem derived from his own personal experiences having been affected by WWI. In each of his poems, Eliot uses the theme of human suffering to evoke and portray a bleak and melancholy setting, which acts as the motive behind the strange and peculiar actions that the characters demonstrate. The Poems “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” and “Rhapsody of a Windy Night” put forward the concept of human suffering, as a result of the isolation, decay and sterility of their environments and situations in which they are confronted with.
The “Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” is a variation on the dramatic monologue, characterized by the utterances of a specific individual at a specific point in time. Eliot focuses on Prufrocks interiority and isolation. The epigraph to this poem, from Dante’s ‘Inferno’ translates to describe Prufrocks ideal listener, being one that is as lost as the speaker, and that will never betray to the world Prufrock’s confessions. However, in Prufrock’s world, no such sympathetic figure exists and he must therefore be content with silent reflection. The technique of intertextuality is used with this epigraph. The positioning of another text within Eliot’s poem adds another complex dimension to the poem. The Prufrock suffers by not having that ideal person that can listen to him, this human suffering results in his loneliness and constant questioning of whether he is worthy.
“The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” is an examination of the tortured psyche of a prototypical modern man- overeducated, eloquent, neurotic and emotionally stilted. The speaker seems to be addressing a potential lover. This concept is also supported in the title of the poem as it portrays an expression of love. “Prufrock” the persona, is characterized as being completely insecure about himself, and he...
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