The poem “ The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock ” is one of the influential poems of Tomas Stern Eliot. The theme and setting of this poem is urban. The poem reveals the ugliness and evil of modern civilization. It highlights the dilemma indecision, and barrenness of modern urban civilization. The
“ The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock ” represents conflict of a modern man though the character of Prufrock. It is a song of frustration and emotional conflict. Love is the theme of this poem but it is not a love poem.
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Prufrock as a modern man
Prufrock is a character who wants to make love to woman but he does not have the courage to propose a lady. He is timid and nervous and so paralyzed of his will that he can not bring himself to propose his heart’s desire to the lady because he thinks that whatever he says to the lady will be answered and says in the following way:
“That is not what I meant at all. That is not it, at all”
In this poem The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, We see that Prufrock feels like a pinned worm, who can not face the eager eyes of the ladies. In fact, his over speculation leads him to indecisiveness.
Prufrock is an embodiment of split personality- a separation of head and heart, a paralysis of the will and too much worry regarding a love proposal. Prufrock refers to Hamlet and this enables us to understand is psychological trouble. He suffers from emotional frustration. He dressess smartly, smiles to ladies but he us unable to express his inner state.
In the poem ” The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock “, Prufrock is not Eliot. He is the protagonist of Eliot. This poem is not subjective but objective. This poem only describes what happens in the minds of Prufrock. Through this poem, Eliot wishes to highlight horrors and frustration of modern life. Prufrock personality colors his outlook and his reactions to his surrounding. His boredom is echoed in the following lines:
“Then how should I begin
To spirit our all the but ends of days and ways?”
Prufrock suffes from a spiritual paralysis. “ The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock ” is an interior monologue. The hero of this poem is a victim of urban civilization and isolation. His anxious nature, his ability to face the problems of life is reflected in his delay procrastination. He does not want to settle the issue of the marriage proposal. He thinks he has a lot of time to take a decision:
“Time for you and time for me
And time yet for a hundred indecision
And for hundred visions and revisions”
Prufrock Hamlet comparison
In the poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock“, we see a similarity between Hamlet and Prufrock. Like Hamlet, Prufrock can not take decision. Hamlet delays taking revenge upon his father killer. Hamlet was confused. He was in Tantalization. His delaying of taking revenge upon Claudius bought a dramatic change of the play. Hamlet and Prufrock both are confused taking decision. They are not characters of action. Both they are suffer from hesitation. However Prufrock’s affair with women are a device to escape the loneliness of his life. He says in the following ways in this poem:
“And I have known the arms already, known them all
Arms that are braceleted and white and bare”
Like other lonely men, he desires but he is unable to communicate with others. The root cause of his loneliness is the lack of communication. Indeed, he is an introvert character. He makes efforts to communicate with others, but his inner tension side tracks him:
“And should I then presume?
And how should I begin?”
In the poem The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock , his inspiration is entrapped by his hesitation. He is bored by the mechanical routine. He is lazy and fears to perform duty. He is devoid of action. He is quite convious of his own helpless and frustration. His inner courage can not brings satisfaction for him rather it ads to his boredom. He represents the modern urban people who suffer from mental frustration, isolation, loneliness, indecision, dilemma and mental conflict. Prufrock’s description of himself is all top realistic of a urban setting:
“I grow old, I grow old
I shall wear the bottom of my trousers rolled”
And he is led to “an overwhelming question” just a short of caricature of Hamlet’s celebrated question- “to be or not to be”. But no question is spoken of no answer sought at all-
“Oh, do not ask, what it it?
Let us go and make our visit”
So, above all, we can say that Frufrock is a modern man. He represent the all the characteristic of modern man in the poem The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
Read More Literary Notes:
Michael by William Wordsworth as a tragedy of human life
Tennyson as a representative poet
Robert Browning as a writer of dramatic monologue