The Woes of an Aging Poet

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The Woes of an Aging Poet

T. S. Eliot once said, "Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." He does not have this mindset when creating his character for his poem "The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock". Prufrock is an aging bachelor longing for the love of a woman, but his timidness prevents him from uttering a word beyond his double-sided conscience. Prufrock's lack of self-confidence, disbelief in finding a moral woman, and fear of rejection shows us the internal struggle of the battle between a man's head and heart that ultimately leads to his demise.

Eliot incorporates meaning behind his single character's name. The "J" is after John the Baptist; Although, he hides this name to avoid criticism. Alfred, although a regal name, is quite commonplace. Prufrock is thought to mean a "prude in a frock coat"(Cervo 227). Touchstone, the court jester of Shakespeare's As You Like It, is the "proof rock" that can turn ore into gold. It is a metaphor for something of great quality like wit or sagacity. However, it is a parody; it serves as a 'whetstone for wits'. the idea came from Shakespeare: "Dullness of the fool is the whetstone of wits." (Cervo 228). Prufrock is also a parody of the "true lovers" Touchstone talks about. Despite their similarities, it is unsure that Prufrock understands the last two lines of Touchstone's song: "He that the sweetest rose must find/must find love's prick and Rosealind" (Cervo 228). This is referring the to the white, multi-foliate rose of the blessed in Heaven that is depicted by Dante in Paradiso. This white rose is the thorn-crowned Christian Savior, the "Rosalind" (beautiful rose) of all "true lovers" (Cervo 228). However, it is certain that Prufrock is knowled...

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... that he does not stand a chance. he feels neglected and powerless. Eliot’s man could only go as far as the shore line.

Works Cited

Cervo, Nathan A. "Eliot's The Love Song Of J. Alfred Prufrock." Explicator 57.4 (1999): 227. Literary Reference Center. Web. 15 May 2014.

Cervo, Nathan A. "Eliot's THE LOVE SONG OF J. ALFRED PRUFROCK." Explicator 60.4 (2002): 207. Literary Reference Center. Web. 15 May 2014.

McCormick, Frank J. "Eliot's THE LOVE SONG OF J. ALFRED PRUFROCK And Shakespeare's HAMLET." Explicator 63.1 (2004): 43-47. Literary Reference Center. Web. 15 May 2014.

Ledbetter, James H. "Eliot's The Love Song Of J. Alfred Prufrock." Explicator 51.1 (1992): 41. Literary Reference Center. Web. 15 May 2014.

Trevisan, Sara. "Eliot's The Love Song Of J. Alfred Prufrock." Explicator 62.4 (2004): 221-223. Humanities Source. Web. 15 May 2014.
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