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Essays on The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock: Another Analysis

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An Analysis of The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock


"Prufrock" is a dramatic monologue, in which it is possible that the speaker is talking to another male, or just talking to himself; his alter ego. Throughout the poem Prufrock is too scared to make a move and seize the day because he keeps saying, "there will be time." His destiny is that he will be old and loveless, hence the irony of the title, because he cannot bring himself to articulate his emotions to another woman. This is actually a pathetic parody of a Lovesong because there is no one to listen to it. Prufrock fears that he will not be heard and this is manifested in the line that refers to the Sirens that sing to Odysseus to lure him to his death in the sea, but Prufrock fears that they will not listen to him.

     The various allusions in the poem need to be understood to gain a better comprehension of what is going on. When he says that he "should have been a pair of ragged claws" this could be seen as a reference to Polonious' character in Hamlet, one who is getting old (a fear of Prufrock's) or it may be that he wants the brainless life of a little creature that scuttles along the sea and has no troubling finding a mate because it requires no effort He talks about the endless places to meet women, but it is no good because he and causes no anxiety in Prufrock because it is easy and primal.

     The entire poem expresses his fear of women and the fact that he cannot successfully relate to them. He asks, "Do I dare? and, Do I dare? / Time to turn back and descend the stair" He still has time to go back to the party and take a chance, but he hesitates, and associates himself with Hamlet, who is also hesitant, but who finally decides to act in the end of the play. He wants to be able to find love (if not that at least sexual intercourse) and enjoy the company of women, but his fear makes him put off the act of approaching them because of his feaz~,f humiliation. The entire poem is the struggle of Prufrock, a gutless eccentric whose debilitating fear of the opposite sex prevents him from acting.

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