Love Song Of J Alfred Prufrock Essay

Is modern life automated and devoid of purposeful existence? Does humanity suffer from a lack of vision and purpose in life? Can individuals in today’s contemporary society cope with the mediocrity, monotony and hollowness of their lives? Almost 100 years after first being published, T.S Eliot’s poetry still resonates with us, due to his exploration of these timeless, universal and enduring questions that characterize the impotence of the modern individual. Responding to the aftermath of WW1 and the paradigm shift that resulted from rapid industrialization and urbanization, Eliot presents a panoramic perspective of the futility and chaos that characterized the post-war environment. Loss of individualism, relaxed moral standards, alienation…show more content…
Alfred Prufrock. The relevance of this poem stems from Eliot’s transformation of his own personal experience of alienation and isolation into a subjective and relatable narrative in which we can locate truths about ourselves. The poem is an acute fusion of modernity and self-consciousness that is debilitating and paralyzing. Prufrock metaphorically looks through his window but never engages meaningfully with the outside world. He is an ageing man who laments the vacuity of his life and lack of intellectual, sexual and spiritual fulfillment. His existential questioning engages us as a modern audience, provoking us to question the integrity of our own…show more content…
The anonymity of the third person ‘they’ represents his inability to connect and forge meaningful relationships because of this paranoia. This exploration of fear and doubt continues throughout the poem as Prufrock poses a profound question, ‘Do I dare disturb the universe?’ Use of this rhetorical question conveys the tension between Prufrock’s realization that it is beneficial to reject complacent acceptance of designated identities and his belief that in order to belong he has to conform. Living and experiencing our contemporary society we can relate to Prufrock’s internal struggle by acknowledging this tension between conforming to societal expectations and developing our own identity. Eliot effectively admonishes against being caught in this state of Prufrockian paralysis, whereby people are paralyzed by doubt and social insecurity. He conveys how the ontological journey to self-knowledge is hindered by self-doubt and our struggle to connect and communicate meaningfully with others.

This state of paralysis and inaction is echoed in another of Eliot’s poems ‘The Hollow Men,’ in which Eliot suggests modern life can be tepid, indecisive, automated and devoid of purposeful existence, trapping humanity in mindless
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