At first glance, avoiding the pessimistic tone of Eliot’s, The Lovesong of J Alfred Prufrock seems almost impossible. From the comparison of the sky to “a patient etherized upon a table”(Eliot 1), to the “restless nights in one-night cheap hotels” (Eliot 1) where prostitutes wonder in and out of, Eliot paints a dark portrayal of a booming industrial city and the grunge subculture that comes with it. One only learns, when looking into Eliot’s influences and beliefs, where such ideas may have emerged from. Before writing Prufrock, Eliot became greatly interested in Dante Alighieri, who later became, “almost the sole poet for whom he [...] kept up a constant [interest in]” (The Poetry Foundation). Eliot used Dante’s inferno, as well as the modernist ideals he had embraced, to “transform his own observation of a dehumanised [...] City of London commuters into a contemporary hell” (Stearns 3). Even choosing to include a section from Dante’s Inferno as the preface for Prufrock. Another large influence in Eliot’s life was Shakespeare, whom he, as stated by Herbert Read, shared "the fear of death [with]"(The Poetry Foundation). The idea of death and decay was present within Eliot 's own life, and worked its way into his poetry a...
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... often times out of the control of individuals. Coming from two characters who stand as ‘Synecdoches’ for all of humanity, their problems, regrets, hopes and dreams are no more different than the person to their right, or their bus driver, or dentist. Millicent embodies the idea when she tells Caden, “This is everyone’s experience. Every single one. The specifics hardly matter”(Kaufman).
in, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, T. S Eliot uses the advancements of modern life to blame the decline of society onto. Eliot fears the change and shift in life that they might bring, while also resenting the past that such advancements will eventually leave behind. As well, he tries to portray the passing of time and the deterioration of the human body and mind, trying to find some meaning, or at least help others find meaning in the great chaos that each person experiences.
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