Analysis of The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.s. Eliot

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About this sample


Words: 1490 |

Pages: 3|

8 min read

Published: Oct 25, 2021

Words: 1490|Pages: 3|8 min read

Published: Oct 25, 2021

The Love Song is a poem about a man whose conscious mind is revealed. Eliot presents Prufrock, to be in a dilemma in making a love proposal but is restricted by his fear of rejection. His personality is portrayed as pessimistic, and he feels that even if he makes the love proposal, he is certain that the lady will reject him at the end and hence there is no need of putting himself in such a risk. Eliot structures the poem to start as a drift into somewhere that is not defined, then to later show that the journey is towards the conscious mind of Prufrock to discover his dilemma. Prufrock is presented to be giving the thought around his situation a lot of time until he becomes worried that he is taking too long to think about it. Eliot does this in order to highlight Prufrock's panicky and nervous behavior to the reader. As the poem progresses Eliot formats his work to uncover Prufrock’s mindset and dilemma and has him to discover what the real issue he faces which is himself. Prufrock realizes that the main challenge is not the fear of rejection but his negative mind concerning himself which makes him unable to propose.

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Eliot emphasises Pruffrock’s indecision and in despair by having infrared through prayer and tears. When a person weeps over something it means that the matter is important . He does this shows how much the persona is in great desire of beauty but is not ready to reveal his mind to the lady because he feels that no matter how he tries he will be rejected. Eliot has Prufrock seek divine intervention by doing this it highlights Prufrock’s issue to the reader even further because commonly prayers tend to only contain issues of forgiveness or importance. Eliot uses that idea to convey how important this dilemma is to Prufrock. The line “Though I have seen my head brought upon a platter” . Eliot relates Pruffock’s story to that of the biblical John the Baptist who was beheaded. The line is related to the Prufrock reference to prayer and fasting, Prufrock believes that he will still lose even if he prays the same way John the Baptist was beheaded despite seeking help from Jesus. Eliot has created a sort of dilemma within a dilemma since he has Prufrock turn to religion for consultation then later has him question the idea of prayer and religion. The purpose of this is to highlight Pruffrock’s chaotic thinking. He then uses the words “eternal Footman” Eliot has the word Footman starting with a capital letter indicating that Prufrock has accepted his condition of mortality and he seems to believe that his mortality is not ending anytime soon. Eliot does to convey how weak Prufrock is and is an inference to how low he sees himself. He concludes that stanza by indicating that he was afraid to make decisions and seems to blame it on his mortality and by the fact that he is an eternal Footman, his fear will linger. Eliot concluded the stanza so it connotes that Prufrock's dilemma will carry on without any resolution.

In the next paragraph, Eliot has Prufrock to question as to whether it will be worthwhile or not to continue lingering in his mind. His dilemma is about what is more painful, the pain of rejection or the pain of incapable of asking for something you want. Eliot has Prufrock to mask his pain through the depiction to be biting off the whole thing with a smile and pretends that all is well. “To have squeezed the universe in a ball To roll it toward some overwhelming question” suggests that he now seems to have one life purpose of asking for love and all the aspects of his life are tied to that one goal. Eliot, makes Prufrock's dilemma to the only thing that it prominat to him so he removed the question from this life, then he does not have any other life purpose, he restricts his way of thinking and life. In the next line he compares himself with the Biblical Lazarus who died then came back to life and tells the living how death feels. Eliot use this infernace as metpahor of rejection so the reader can see how Pruffrock feels when he believes that approaching her to tell what he feels and then getting rejected, is similar to committing suicide and resurrected only to tell people how it feels to die. Meaning that rejection is like dying. Eliot uses indecision as Prufrock’s safe strategy to protect himself from being hurt but again he feels sad to be in that situation as indicated by the repetition of the line “And would it be worth it.” Eliot's Prufrock to premeditate the lady’s response as an misinterpretation “That is not it all, that is not what I meant at all.” underlining that Pruffrock believes that if he asked his question to her she would feel offended by it. Eliot underlines this in order to show the reader how Prufrock over thinks simple scenarios. Eliot highlights Prufrock's insecurities and never has him resolve how he feels that it is impossible for him to tell her exactly what he feels since it is nervous situation he needs to overcome. Nevertheless, Eliot portrays him to be fixed in his mind and destined for rejection and overall a weak character.

Eliot uses time to examine Pruffrock’s mind during his dilemma.“I grow… I grow…” indicates that much time passed and Prufrock was unable to make a decision; hence he was separated with the beauty he desired because of his fears. The lines, “Do I dare to eat a peach” is different from the previous line which was, “Do I dare” indicating that time to make decision has elapsed, and Prufrock is no longer in the desire of that beauty since has accepted that it was predestined that way. Eliot highlights that over time Pruffrock has been left to question everything he does since he never faced up to the dilemma of talking to the lady thus Eliot is presenting him as a victim of circumstance and broken since he questions himself more than the decision and the way he goes about is somewhat delusional since he never makes up his mind. Eliot signifies that delusion through the singing of mermaids that trigger the memories of how much he was in love through. Mermaids are mythical creatures, half human half fish , beautiful and evil. Eliot has Prufrock to imagine women like this to show the reader Prufrock sees a duality in women however this image he sees is interpreted as false since he is relating it to a mythical creature. “I do not think that they (the mermaids) will sing to me” This indicates that Prufrock has come to terms with life as it is and songs of mermaids which resemble women talking is something that will never happen for someone like him. Eliot, in the final three lines uses the word “we” which must be referring to the “you and I” of the first paragraph. Relating “we” and “you and I” it becomes clear that they are referring to one person and that is Prufrock. The journey was a journey into his mind and the line, “we have lingered in the chamber of the sea” is used to indicate that the thoughts in his conscious mind have lingered for a long period. Eliot has him to forget those memories completely by drowning them as the very last line indicates. The memories will not awaken “until human voices” do, which means that the thoughts will not come into remembrance not unless Prufrock decides to awake them again.

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In conclusion, Eliot has Prufrock's inability to make decision blamed on external forces which he believes designs the life of every person. He portrays the belief of predestination to be the thought that reduces the pain that Prufrock is going through as a result of the failure to ask for what he wants. However, Eliot has predestination to be a consolation because deep inside Prufrock he makes him feel responsible for his failure because he later says that this is ridiculous and foolish. So as the poem goes on Eliot unravels his dilemma in his head o have the end result of him being broken. He does this by having Prufrock greatest mistake to compare himself with people he thinks are better than him. This in turn makes him feel weaker and create a lot of mental obstacles which limits him. He ends up living by the prejudice that his life is designed and is following a certain path that cannot be altered. Eliot ends the poem with showing the reader that Prufrock is a loner shattered by his choices when he is seen at the beach walking all alone only viewing only how better his life would be life if filled with companionship. 

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Analysis Of The Love Song Of J. Alfred Prufrock By T.S. Eliot. (2021, October 25). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 14, 2024, from
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