What Is The Theme Of Modern Masculinity In The Love Song Of J Alfred Prufrock

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T.S. Eliot’s The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock argues the necessity for men to embody a sense of traditional masculinity. He argues that if stereotypical manliness is not practiced by a man, he will figuratively “drown” (Eliot, 137) and be “almost ridiculous-/ [a]lmost, at times, [a f]ool.” (124-125) Eliot portrays this by following the speaker, Prufrock, during a night out and witnessing his incapability to achieve his goal as a result of not acting as a stereotypical male. Through repetition, allusions, and fragmental images, Eliot stresses the importance of practicing traditional masculinity and how the lack of embracing conventional masculinity can lead to a man’s downfall. Ultimately, Eliot’s portrayal of Prufrock is a critique of modern masculinity. Although Eliot reinforces the necessity for a man to embrace traditional masculinity in a myriad of ways, the most prominent way is through the literary device of repetition. Throughout, Prufrock constantly addresses the “overwhelming question” (16) he must ask that night. Although he never discloses what the question is, the question is continuously brought up but never acted upon. Eliot implies that the reason Prufrock never accomplishes what he intended to is a result of being hyper…show more content…
Eliot demonstrates “that Prufrock prepares . . . [a face] . . . of feigned confidence” (McCormick, 44-5) when in the company of others which eventually leads to failing to accomplish his goals. A traditional male would be unaffected by the presence of others and remain the true man that he is. The author portrays this insecurity throughout by the use of the previously mentioned literary devices. As a result, Prufrock never asks the “overwhelming question” (Eliot, 16) and ultimately “drown[s]” (137) in his unfulfilling life. Conclusively, Eliot’s portrayal of Prufrock is a critique of contemporary
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