Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock

Topics: T. S. Eliot, Lazarus, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock Pages: 4 (1687 words) Published: June 28, 2008
In "The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock," by T.S. Elliot, the speaker is Prufrock himself. He is debating with the two conflicting sides of his personality. One wants him to propose love, the other wants him to hold back. The setting is most likely in the early 1920s or so, taking into consideration the afternoon tea, the shawls the ladies wear, and "the skirts that trail along the floor"(102). The situation is fairly straightforward in some respects. Alfred Prufrock is on his way to a tea in the mid-afternoon and is indecisive as to whether he should declare his love or not. Figurative language is most abundant in this poem. Throughout, parts of the city are personified as being human while Prufrock is personified as being less than human. The "yellow fog" and the sky which is like "a patient" appear intelligent to the reader of the poem. On the other hand, Prufrock thinks of himself as a crab which should be scuttling across the floor of the sea or a senile old man who wears flannel trousers. This evidence the city and nature which are the yellow fog and the sky are taking mastery over Prufrock. They have become king. The phrase, "But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on the screen"(105) has thematic importance as well. A magic lantern is a movie projector; hence, Prufrock is viewing his life and thought as a movie with a predetermined end. This predetermined end is that his love would not like him and that he would fail in his proposal of love. Irony exists in the title, for this poem is not a lovesong but rather a piece mourning a man's fear to propose love. Nearly all of Prufrock's allusions are overstatement. He speaks of himself as one decapitated and one absolutely banned from telling his story of love. This, however, is not the case as Prufrock's only limitation is himself. Before moving on, it is imperative that a precise view of J. Alfred Prufrock's personality be extrapolated. First of all, Prufock is in a state of terrible...
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