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Elliot has used his poetic skill to create a complex character study. He also creates an image of the period with ladies in long skirts; tea rooms; smoke from chimneys; smoggy evenings; a man in a morning suit with a high collar cutting into his chin.
To some extent though the poem reflects, not just the society of the time, but also Elliot’s own place in it and his rather pessimistic view of his own situation. In this essay the poem will be considered as to how it reflects his life. Poetry Genius (2014) describes it as being :-
The lines at the beginning are taken from Dante’s ‘Divine Comedy’ and are spoken by one of the damned souls in hell, Count Guido da Montefeltro, who describes how nobody ever returns from this dead state. Prufrock in this poem may be walking and talking in an earthly city, but in some senses he too is one of the living dead, observing society, yet not quite part of it.
Prufrock has a companion, a listener to whom he says (line1) ‘Let us go then, you and I.’ It is unclear whether or not this listener is a real companion, or just Prufrock talking to his inner self as an internal monologue in which he describes himself in both negative and positive terms as when he says :-
So he sees himself as a lesser figure, an attendant upon society, an extra in a film set perhaps, but with a role nevertheless. He then acts this out, by moving only on the very edges of society, in this case at the head of the stairs, rather in the room with the women talking about Michelangelo. They are interested in a great and admired artist, so why should women even notice him? Even the soot from the many chimneys falls upon him, making him even more invisible (line 19).
The original title for the poem was ’Prufrock among the women’ (Cummings, undated). He isn’t interacting with them, and seems totally unable to. He is just there at the same time. Time seems to have stood still for him,
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Thus, the poem stresses on the downfall of human intellect as the primary cause of man’s inability to understand the true meaning of life. It is the goal of this essay to explore the main theme discussed by examining the character of Alfred Prufrock and how he views himself, other people, and human life in general.
Nevertheless, the example of Prufrock is not only that of a man who simply lacks love and who shows it in his negative attitude towards things – Prufrock’s story is also that of a man who needs care and sympathy. The main character, Prufrock, experiences loneliness in various instances in his life and this is most likely attributed to the lack of love for himself.
The poem consists of a dramatic monologue by the central character that is J. Alfred Prufrock, trying to come to terms with the social setup in which he is placed. In the poem T.S. Eliot presents Prufrock as an anti-hero who is timid, middle aged, unsure, indecisive and confused.
It is maybe because of his mixture of cultures, seeing how they were slightly different from the United States to the United Kingdom, that he put so much attention on symbolism in his work. “Eliot is known for his critical and theoretical writing, particularly for his advocacy of the ‘objective correlative’, the notion that art should not be a personal expression, but should work through objective universal symbols” (“T.S. Eliot”, 2006).
Alfred Prufrock is given the impression that they are intimately involved in the workings of the main character’s mind. As Prufrock thinks through his monotonous life, he reveals his own insecurities and fears to be the influential factor involved in
However, Prufrock is afraid to make advances because of the perceptions he assumes others have of his inadequacies. In his opinion, he “should have been a pair of ragged claws / Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.” He despises himself to the
The devices confirm that Eliot is more concerned with something that is larger than a man’s obsession with a woman.
The poem covers the idea of hell through the Dante’s Inferno epigraph. The allusion from Dante’s work
em’s speaker, appears to be addressing a particular potential lover, with whom he wishes “forcing the moment to its crisis” (CP 2) by somehow achieving their relationship.
Prufrocks paralysis follows certainly from this subjectivism of everything. If each perception is an
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