Essay on The Love Song of Alfred J. Prufrock

The Love Song of Alfred J. Prufrock by T.S. Eliot is a striking poem that takes the form of a dramatic monologue. It is an internal dialogue and, because of this, there is a suggestion of something that is not said plainly and directly on the surface, a sort of underlying feeling put into words. At times it seems that it is really Prufrock’s subconscious mind speaking. However, over the course of the poem, Prufrock seems to be shining an almost pathetic light on himself. This is most clearly shown through his failure actually to succeed in his “love song” and acquire a lover, his allusions to Hamlet and fools, and his constant worry over what seem to be trivial anxieties.Because the poem is a “love song,” it is immediately apparent that women will play a very large role throughout the poem. The fact that the women in this particular poem can be placed under one of two categories, neither of which contains attainable objects of Prufrock’s affection, is a prominent example of his failure.The first grouping contains women of Prufrock’s class who are ultimately undesirable to him. Prufrock mocks these ladies for the social and intellectual masks they hide behind. They are indirectly imaged as pretentious and shallow and very artificial in their behavior. The ever-famous line “In the room the women come and go/Talking of Michelangelo” (13-14), is a prominent example of this. The light chatter about Michelangelo gives the immediate impression of small talk. Other lines suggest that the scene does, in fact, take place at a tea party. The stereotypical portrayal of a tea party is a light, airy, social gathering in which image is hugely important to all present. Prufrock view is along the same lines. When he says “There …

…Prufrock fails in almost all of his endeavors in the poem. Throughout the entire poem, Prufrock seems to be traveling rapidly by vertical descent into a sort of underworld. By the end, Prufrock has plunged into his own underworld and, through the word “we” at the beginning of his final stanza, he forces us to accompany him. Again Prufrock mentions the “sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown” (130) but this time he adds a sort of dark tone to the image. He says, “till human voices wake us, and we drown” (131). Prufrock’s frustrated desire for the women who reject him, ends in disappointment. They are all inaccessible to him and any reminder of the social world that he is so isolated from which is referenced to by the “human voices” drives him further beneath the waves of misery, only compounding his intense sense of loneliness and uselessness.

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