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Examples of Allusion in "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"

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Words: 529 |

Page: 1|

3 min read

Published: Jun 14, 2024

Words: 529|Page: 1|3 min read

Published: Jun 14, 2024

Table of contents

  1. Allusion to Shakespeare's Hamlet
  2. Allusion to Michelangelo's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"
  3. Allusion to Dante's Inferno
  4. Conclusion
  5. Bibliography

The poem "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" by T.S. Eliot is a modernist masterpiece that delves into the thoughts and fears of its protagonist, Prufrock. Throughout the poem, Eliot employs various literary techniques, including the use of allusion, to convey Prufrock's sense of alienation and existential angst. This essay will explore several examples of allusion in the poem, analyzing their impact on the overall meaning and themes of the work.

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Allusion to Shakespeare's Hamlet

One of the most prominent allusions in "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" is the reference to Shakespeare's Hamlet. In the poem, Prufrock compares himself to the indecisive and introspective character of Prince Hamlet, saying, "No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be" (line 111). This allusion serves to highlight Prufrock's own self-doubt and inability to take decisive action in his life.

Furthermore, the allusion to Hamlet also suggests a sense of futility and despair. Just as Hamlet is trapped in a cycle of inaction and contemplation, Prufrock is likewise trapped in his own thoughts and insecurities. This allusion adds depth to the character of Prufrock, emphasizing his internal struggles and the existential crisis he is facing.

Allusion to Michelangelo's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"

Another significant allusion in the poem is the reference to Michelangelo's sculpture, "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock." Prufrock describes himself as "almost, at times, the Fool" (line 118), alluding to the iconic image of the Fool in Michelangelo's artwork. This allusion serves to reinforce Prufrock's feelings of inadequacy and foolishness.

Moreover, the allusion to Michelangelo's sculpture also suggests a sense of self-awareness and introspection. Just as the Fool in the sculpture is depicted as a figure caught between laughter and tears, Prufrock similarly experiences a mix of emotions throughout the poem. This allusion adds depth to Prufrock's character, highlighting his complex and contradictory nature.

Allusion to Dante's Inferno

The poem "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" also contains an allusion to Dante's Inferno. Prufrock compares himself to the character of Guido da Montefeltro, saying, "I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each. / I do not think they will sing to me" (lines 124-125). This allusion serves to illustrate Prufrock's sense of isolation and exclusion.

Furthermore, the allusion to Dante's Inferno also conveys a sense of damnation and despair. Guido da Montefeltro is a character condemned to Hell for his sins, and Prufrock sees himself similarly condemned to a life of unfulfilled desires and missed opportunities. This allusion adds a layer of existential dread to the poem, emphasizing Prufrock's feelings of hopelessness and insignificance.

Conclusion

In conclusion, "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" makes effective use of allusion to convey the inner turmoil and existential angst of its protagonist. The allusions to Shakespeare's Hamlet, Michelangelo's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," and Dante's Inferno all serve to deepen our understanding of Prufrock's character and his struggles. These allusions highlight his self-doubt, feelings of inadequacy, and sense of isolation. Overall, the use of allusion in the poem enhances its themes of alienation and the human condition, leaving the reader with a profound sense of empathy and reflection.

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Bibliography

Eliot, T.S. "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock." Poetry Foundation, www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/44212/the-love-song-of-j-alfred-prufrock.

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

Examples of Allusion in “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”. (2024, Jun 14). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 21, 2024, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/examples-of-allusion-in-the-love-song-of-j-alfred-prufrock/
“Examples of Allusion in “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”.” GradesFixer, 14 Jun. 2024, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/examples-of-allusion-in-the-love-song-of-j-alfred-prufrock/
Examples of Allusion in “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/examples-of-allusion-in-the-love-song-of-j-alfred-prufrock/> [Accessed 21 Jul. 2024].
Examples of Allusion in “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Jun 14 [cited 2024 Jul 21]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/examples-of-allusion-in-the-love-song-of-j-alfred-prufrock/
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