The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
The Love Song of J. Eliot in the year and was published in It is considered to be one of the quintessential works of modernism, a literary movement at the turn of the 20th century that emphasized the themes of isolation, alienation, and diminishing power of traditional authority sources.
This poem is a dramatic monologue. Students can also check the English Summary to revise with them during exam preparation. Summary of The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock Analysis T. Eliot showcases the despair and passivity of a middle-aged man, Alfred J. He is in love. However, his love song is never sung. He is haunted by the problem of whether he should reveal his love to the lady, and he is unaccomplished.
The poem is generally not of the 20th century, but it belongs to all ages. It subjects the emotional frustration and despair, the hollowness of individuals living in any period in history.
However, nothing of this sort takes place in the poem. The title of this poem is ironic. The reason behind calling this poem a Love Song lies in the irony that the song will never be sung. Prufrock will never dare to voice how he feels. This poem is an inspection of the disturbed consciousness of a typical modern man who is powerful, overeducated, anxious, and emotionally artificial. The speaker of the poem, Prufrock, addresses a lover with whom he would like to consummate their relationship somehow.
He starts hearing the remarks that others make on his weaknesses. He becomes aware of his growing age and his unkempt clothing. He rarely thinks of himself and cannot enjoy even a peach. He does not have the spirit to do anything in life except thinking and thinking. The Love Song Of J. From the beginning, the poem sets up a comparison between action and inaction.
But that momentum is quickly stalled. Still, in reality, he is too timid to do so because he imagines that people will laugh at his bald spot and shabby clothing, which, in turn, suggest that the speaker is getting older — and that he has been wasting his time with all this indecision.
He repeats those phrases at the end of two different stanzas, giving the impression of stuttering or repeated failed start. For the speaker, trying to make the best choice repeatedly results in him making no choice at all. In particular, he appears to have a deep longing for romantic connection — but he struggles to communicate that desire, and so it remains mostly unfulfilled. The poem clarifies that people like the speaker can only really experience love by breaking through these communication barriers.
Still, it also embodies just how difficult doing so can be. A few key moments in the poem suggest the speaker feels romantic or sexual desire for women but is unable to express those feelings. However, his desires are soon stymied by self-doubt and recrimination.
And how should I begin? When the speaker imagines expressing his desires and feelings to others, those scenes inevitably dissolve into disheartening moments of misunderstanding.
His frustration suggests that romantic fulfillment requires clear communication — something the poem indicates the speaker might not be capable of. The poem refers to several technologies that would have been relatively new in the early 20th century, like lamplight, industrial factories, and anesthesia in hospitals. At the same time, all this new activity and industry seems to have left the speaker behind.
The speaker already seems weary of this new world, in which events follow one another in a repetitive, cyclical fashion. Modernist literature was also often characterized by a rejection of traditional figures of authority. In keeping with this tradition, the poem deconstructs the traditionally respected pillars of Western culture, religion, and literature, leaving the speaker feeling isolated and pessimistic about his diminished connection to those traditions.
The poem thus makes its protagonist an object of mockery rather than a figure of greatness. This reaction suggests that modernist trends in literature may only enhance the alienating experience of living in the modern world.
This poem suggests that, for all the wealth and technological comforts of modern life, there is something profoundly alienating about this new way of experiencing the world. Dramatic monologues are similar to soliloquies in a play. Three things characterize a typical dramatic monologue, according to M. Abrams: There are the utterances of a specific individual who is not the poet at any specific moment in time. The monologue is specifically directed towards a listener or listener whose presence is not directly referenced but is merely suggested in the words of the speaker.
Prufrock describes that no such sympathetic figure exists in the world, and he must, therefore, be content with silent reflection.
The rhyme scheme of this poem can be called irregular but is not random. The bits and pieces of rhyme in the poem become much more apparent when the poem is being read aloud. One of the most significant formal characteristics of this literary work is the use of refrains.
The three-line stanzas are rhymed as the conclusion of a Petrarchan sonnet would be. Alfred Prufrock Analysis Literary Devices Literary devices play a significant part in any literary piece. They are used for highlighting hidden meanings in the poem. These devices also contribute to bringing clarity and uniqueness to the literary piece.
Eliot has used various literary devices such as metaphors, similes, personification, and irony in the poem. The analysis of several literary devices has been stated below. Personification: Eliot has used personification, which means to use emotions for inanimate objects. The poet has personified trees and other various objects in this poem. Metaphor: There are various metaphors used in this poem. Irony: Irony is a figure of speech stating the opposite meanings of the situation discussed.
Alfred Prufrock, the narrator, thinks he has a lot of time. However, in reality, the man keeps running out of time. Epigraph: Refers to a statement, quote or poem which is set during the beginning of the document, before the literary piece or actual poem starts. Perhaps the individuals or the crowd talking across the street sounded more like an argument to the narrator. Alfred Prufrock Analysis of The Poetic Devices Although poetic devices are similar to literary devices, some are specifically used in poems.
Eliot has used the following poetic devices in this poem in order to make it appealing. Stanza: The structure of the stanza keeps varying as the poem progresses. Various stanzas of two, seven and twelve verses have been used throughout this poem.
The repetition of these phases has helped in enhancing the musical impact of the poem. Rhyming Scheme: The poet has used a simple rhyming pattern in his poem. In the first two lines of the poem, the poet has made the use of rhyming couplet.
The rhyme pattern has also changed between rhymed and unrhymed lines as the poem progresses. Refrain: The lines in a poem that are repeated at some distance are known as a refrain. Thus, they have become a type of refrain. In the final analysis of this poem, it can be stated the use of these poetic devices has helped in bringing musical quality hard to find in such free verse poems.
Eliot has smoothly blended poetic devices with literary devices and further his message to showcase that he understands the art of poetry. He uses it to convey his message effectively. The Symbolists privileged the same kind of individual Eliot creates with Prufrock — the urban, moody, isolated-yet-sensitive thinker. However, whereas the Symbolists might have been more likely of making their speaker himself a poet or an artist, Eliot chooses to make Prufrock an unacknowledged poet, a sort of artist for the commoner.
The second defining characteristic of the poem is its use of fragmentation and comparison. Eliot has sustained his interest in fragmentation and its applications throughout his poetic career, and his use of this technique has changed in important ways throughout his body of work. The kinds of imagery the poet uses also suggest that something new can be made from these ruins.
The poet also introduces an image that will recur in his poetry later — of the scavenger. At the very least, this notion overthrows the romantic ideals about art; at best, it suggests that fragments might become reintegrated, that art might be in some way therapeutic for a modern broken world.
Also, Hamlet is still relevant for us and that we are still part of a world that might produce something like the plays of Shakespeare. In reality, the poet is a little better than his creation. The poet differs from Prufrock only by retaining a bit of arrogance that shows throughout from time to time. Both are an expression of sensitivity and aesthetic ability that seems to have no place in this modern world. Eliot wrote his uncertain love song from to , but J.
The poem was completely different from the more refined accepted verse of the times and helped kick-start the modernist movement. At the time of writing, the class system that had been in place for centuries was under immense pressure like never before. There was a change in society changing, with a new order being formed.
World War 1 just was on the horizon, and the power struggles were beginning to change the way people lived, thought, and loved.
Alfred Prufrock is a respectful character, but he has seen the seedier side of life. He measures his life in coffee spoons, his lost hair, and his lean physique. Alfred Prufrock?
A Short Analysis of T. S. Eliot’s ‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock’
A Short Analysis of T. Eliot, though, back in , and made its debut in print in June , when it was published in Poetry magazine. This ground-breaking modernist poem has attracted many interpretations, involving everything from psychoanalysis to biographical readings, but it remains an elusive poem. You can read the poem here and listen to Eliot reading the whole poem here. It is partly what helps to make him a modern poet, focusing on urban social alienation and the landscape of the city rather than on nature and the pastoral.
He treats his characters and his scenes without sentiment, but nevertheless his poems contain an emotional intensity which Baudelaire had shown the way for: modern poetry did not have to be cold and emotionless. Eliot could speak French fluently as the French verses included in his Collected Poems attest , and he even spent a short time in Paris after his MA at Harvard, and before he came to England in Alfred Prufrock, who is attending social events almost certainly in New England, such as in the Massachusetts area which Eliot knew well from his time studying at Harvard , probably in the hopes of finding a woman he can court and then marry.
At the end of the poem, this oceanic imagery returns, with Prufrock hearing the song of the mermaids but thinking that they would not sing to him, only to each other. Even in his fantasies he sees himself as inadequate, such is the crippling social anxiety of the early twentieth-century New England world somewhat prudish and even puritanical in its attitudes.
Curiously, many biographers of T. Tennyson and Browning virtually invented this new form of poetry in the s and s, and their names were synonymous with it. We cannot always be sure that what he is confiding to us is actually being uttered: we may instead have a direct line to his thoughts, to the inside of his head.
And this is before we even begin to analyse the significance of Prufrock comparing himself to John the Baptist… Who is Prufrock?
He is perhaps slightly pretentious and affected, given the styling of his name in the title as J. Prufrock also seems reluctant to grasp the nettle and proposition any of the women he meets at the social functions he attends — those women who talk of Michelangelo, for instance. But we cannot advance much more than this with real confidence. Like all great works of art, it remains open to new interpretations and can mean lots of different things to different readers.
This is a key part of modernist poetry and, indeed, the modernist fiction of figures such as Virginia Woolf and James Joyce , and is an attempt by modernist writers to encourage us to confront the realities of the modern world. After all, how well do we know our friends? The Italian original can be translated as follows: If I but thought that my response were made to one perhaps returning to the world, this tongue of flame would cease to flicker.
But since, up from these depths, no one has yet returned alive, if what I hear is true, I answer without fear of being shamed. This is another key feature of much modernist poetry: literary allusion, often to very specific texts which only a highly educated reader would be able to recognise.
Guido is in Hell the Inferno , addressing these lines to Dante himself and telling him that the only reason he feels comfortable in confessing his deepest, darkest sins to the poet is that he knows that nobody who is in Hell alongside him can go and tell everyone back in the land of the living about them. So, with that in mind, we might surmise that Eliot wishes us to see Prufrock as somehow confessing something, as confiding something which he feels shame about his difficulties with girls, perhaps.
Alternatively, we might place the emphasis on where Guido utters these lines, and suggest that, for Prufrock, modern-day society is a form of living hell. Perhaps both interpretations are relevant here. Lazarus was famously brought back from the dead by Jesus. You can read the lines here. Eliot Poems, , after the name Eliot originally gave to the little notebook of poems he compiled in his early years.
This is partly why the poem signalled the arrival of such a strikingly new voice in Anglophone poetry. But the original print run of copies of Prufrock and Other Observations would take five years to sell out.
Forster, each of whom would help to champion Eliot as the most exciting new voice in English verse. About T. Nevertheless, his poetry changed the landscape of Anglophone poetry for good. Born in St Louis, Missouri in , Eliot studied at Harvard and Oxford before abandoning his postgraduate studies at Oxford because he preferred the exciting literary society of London. Although his first collection, Prufrock and Other Observations , sold modestly its print run of copies would take five years to sell out , the publication of The Waste Land in , with its picture of a post-war Europe in spiritual crisis, established him as one of the most important literary figures of his day.
He never returned to America except to visit as a lecturer , but became an official British citizen in , the same year he was confirmed into the Church of England. His last major achievement as a poet was Four Quartets , which reflect his turn to Anglicanism. In his later years he attempted to reform English verse drama with plays like Murder in the Cathedral and The Cocktail Party He died in London in The author of this article, Dr Oliver Tearle, is a literary critic and lecturer in English at Loughborough University.
Eliot picture credit: Ellie Koczela , Wikimedia Commons. Share this:.
But since, up from these depths, no one has yet returned alive, if what I hear is true, I answer without fear of being shamed.
Analysis of T.S. Eliot’s Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
This is another key feature of much modernist poetry: literary allusion, often to very specific texts which only a highly educated reader would be able to recognise. Guido is in Hell the Infernoaddressing these lines to Dante himself and telling him that the only reason he feels comfortable in confessing his deepest, darkest sins to the poet is that he knows that nobody who is in Hell alongside him can go and tell everyone back in the land of the living about them.
So, with that in mind, we might surmise that Eliot wishes us to see Prufrock as somehow confessing something, as confiding something which he feels shame about his difficulties with girls, perhaps.
Alternatively, we might place the emphasis on where Guido utters these lines, and suggest that, for Prufrock, modern-day society is a form of living hell.
Poetry Time: Easy English Explanation of The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot
Perhaps both interpretations are relevant here. Lazarus was famously brought back from the dead by Jesus. You can read the lines here. Eliot Poems,after the name Eliot originally gave to the little notebook of poems he compiled in his early years. This is partly why the poem signalled the arrival of such a strikingly new voice in Anglophone poetry. But the original print run of copies of Prufrock and Other Observations would take five years to sell out.
Forster, each of whom would help to champion Eliot as the most exciting new voice in English verse. About T. Nevertheless, his poetry changed the landscape of Anglophone poetry for good. Born in St Louis, Missouri inEliot studied at Harvard and Oxford before abandoning his postgraduate studies at Oxford because he preferred the exciting literary society of London. Although his first collection, Prufrock and Other Observationssold modestly its print run of copies would take five years to sell outthe publication of The Waste Land inwith its picture of a post-war Europe in spiritual crisis, established him as one of the most important literary figures of his day.
He never returned to America except to visit as a lecturerbut became an official British citizen inthe same year he was confirmed into the Church of England. His last major achievement as a poet was Four Quartetswhich reflect his turn to Anglicanism. In his later years he attempted to reform English verse drama with plays like Murder in the Cathedral and The Cocktail Party He died in London in The author of this article, Dr Oliver Tearle, is a literary critic and lecturer in English at Loughborough University.
Eliot picture credit: Ellie KoczelaWikimedia Commons. When the evening is spread out against the sky Like a patient etherized upon a table; The opening is one of the most famous images in English literature.
The night lies unconscious; it is etherized. Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets, Deserted means people have left. But retreat can also mean pulling back from something unpleasant. The two meanings introduces the theme of the poem, which is of a man who has retreated from life. In the past you could find that stuff on the floor of pubs. Oysters are a flat, expensive shellfish.
And an argument is a discussion about a statement that can be right or wrong. Let us go and make our visit. He invites you to make a visit, just like in the Divine Comedy, where Dante is taken to see Hell by the poet Virgil. Have you got your gasmask on? In the room the women come and go Talking of Michelangelo. Okay, so now we expected to be in Hell, right? Does this sound like Hell to you? To me, personally, it sounds more like Heaven.
Alfred Prufrock thinks this is Hell. There is a yellow fog that sits right on the windows. Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening, The yellow smoke is personified. And seeing that it was a soft October night, Hm, again, nothing dramatic happens. Curled once about the house, and fell asleep. No, it wrapped itself around the house, and then it sleeps! What an anti-drama.
And indeed there will be time For the yellow smoke that slides along the street, Rubbing its back upon the window-panes; There will be time, there will be time To prepare a face to meet the faces that you vxrail esxi default password Apparently, Mr Prufrock needs to prepare a face for the people that he will meet.
And for a hundred visions and revisions, A revision is a correction. Before the taking of a toast and tea. Prufrock is sensibly dressed, we understand from his description, like a well-groomed gentleman. This can mean several things. It can also mean that Prufrock is simply unable to make decisions, because he wants to change them a minute later.
Or it can mean that he thinks that making decisions is senseless, because reality will change one minute later. What does this image mean? It could mean his life is one string of cups of coffee, with nothing interesting happening in between. But Prufrock is just listening to voices, presumably of the women who are talking about Michelangelo. Beneath the music from a farther room.
So how should I presume? And I have known the eyes already, known them all— Yeah yeah, we know, Prufrock is just thinking of excuses not to look for contact with other people. Then how should I begin To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways? A butt can be the end of anything, and butt-end is often used to mean the stub of a cigarette. So Prufrock is comparing his life to a used-up cigarette. And how should I presume? But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair! Is it perfume from a dress That makes me so digress?
Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl. A shawl is another word for scarf. And should I then presume? And how should I begin? And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows? I should have been a pair of ragged claws Scuttling across the floors of silent seas. Hamlet is mentioned later in the poem. In this image, Prufrock is comparing himself to a crab could also be a lobster, but in English you can call an old man an old crab, so crab is a better image.
You could make some interesting comparisons between them: Prufrock is protective and defensive of himself, just like a crab is in his shell and with his sharp claws. And although the crab lives under the sea, Prufrock lives in his own world too.