Matthew Arnold and T.S. Eliot, in their respective poems, share a sense of alienation, not only from other people but from nature and God as well. Arnold is writing in an age when the place of man in the universe is coming into question, for the first time since the advent of Christianity. He can no longer take the same solace in nature and the love of God that his Romantic predecessors did. While Arnold comments on isolation, however, he still addresses himself to a lover in Dover Beach, whereas Prufrock is presented as a man who has completely retreated within himself. Eliot's isolation is total.
In the industrialized age of Arnold, people no longer were able to look upon nature for inspiration; the unpopulated country of Wordsworth's time was no longer accessible to a centralized people. The increased pace of life and urban crowding obviated the Romantic's luxury of reflection in natural solitude. While the poet observes nature in Dover Beach, the experience is metaphorically useful, but not an end unto itself, nor does it bring any comfort. Rather, Arnold uses the futility that he sees in the ocean's tides to illustrate the fruitlessness of human endeavor. Although the sea appears calm [line 1], beneath the surface there is this almost cruel drama being played out, as the pebbles are dragged and flung by the waves and dragged back again, producing a "grating roar." [lines 9-12] The image of human beings as pebbles on the sand recurs in the third stanza, when Arnold refers to the "Sea of Faith" which has withdrawn and left the rocks exposed as "naked shingles." Eliot later also repudiates t...
... middle of paper ...
...he colloquial almost instantaneously. Arnold's final paragraph serves a sort of summing-up of Dover Beach as a whole. At the conclusion of Prufrock, Eliot leaps into an apparently tangential thought about mermaids. It's not his job to explain what Prufrock is talking about. Eliot has turned the enigma of modern living into a poem, rather than using his work to provide an answer to the questions that humanity must deal with.
Arnold seems to be mourning for a time past when people could look to faith for answers to questions of import. Eliot acknowledges that those days will never return and instead encourages the reader to apply a personal meaning to The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.
T.S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. 6th ed. Vol. 2. ed. M. H. Abrams New York, London: Norton, 1993.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Eliot's Inferiority Exposed in Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock and Sweeney Among the Nightingales "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" tells the story of a single character, a timid, middle-aged man. Prufrock is talking or thinking to himself. The epigraph, a dramatic speech taken from Dante's "Inferno," provides a key to Prufrock's nature. Like Dante's character Prufrock is in "hell," in this case a hell of his own feelings. He is both the "you and I" of line one, pacing the city's grimy streets on his lonely walk.... [tags: Love Song J. Alfred Prufrock]
1167 words (3.3 pages)
- T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” tells the speaker’s story through several literary devices, allowing the reader to analyze the poem through symbolism, character qualities, and allusions that the work displays. In this way, the reader clearly sees the hopelessness and apathy that the speaker has towards his future. John Steven Childs sums it up well in saying Prufrock’s “chronic indecision blocks him from some important action” (Childs). Each literary device- symbolism, character, and allusion- supports this description.... [tags: symbolism and story analysis]
1115 words (3.2 pages)
- T. S. Eliot's poem "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" reveals the unvoiced inner thoughts of a disillusioned, lonely, insecure, and self-loathing middle-aged man. The thoughts are presented in a free association, or stream of consciousness style, creating images from which the reader can gain insight into Mr. Prufrock's character. Mr. Prufrock is disillusioned and disassociated with society, yet he is filled with longing for love, comfort, and companionship. He is self-conscious and fearful of his image as viewed through the world's eye, a perspective from which he develops his own feelings of insignificance and disgust.... [tags: The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock]
956 words (2.7 pages)
- ... On the other side, he feels powerless to the reality. Apparently, Eliot directly tells the reader the internal conflict of the speaker of the poem, who is greedy of love but fears for the responsibility that comes with it. What this setting in the poem reflects is the emptiness and weakness of folks in modern society. Furthermore, the second stanza paints a more vivid picture with life scenes, such as “a patient etherized upon a table”, “half-deserted streets”, “muttering retreats “one-night cheap hotels”, as well as “sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells.” Obviously, the speaker in the poem is walking in a shantytown.... [tags: T. S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock]
1086 words (3.1 pages)
- ... The songs are not the authors’ emotions; the poem is a stage, where the characters appear without an introduction and whatever we know about the character is from the personae’s words. The characters and situations are fiction and meant purely for the entertainment of the audience. The Song of Solomon takes many names, some people may refer to it as its formal name Song of Solomon, the Canticles, or the Song of Songs. This book in the Old Testament is composed of short love lyrics alternating speakers between a man and a woman.... [tags: Love, Poetry, Bible, Song of Songs]
865 words (2.5 pages)
- Abstract The following research paper is a comprehensive, and detailed look into the life and poetry of T.S. Eliot. Research includes an accurate retelling of his life, and then delves into T.S.’s complex and controversial poetry through my personal analysis of “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”, and continues with two critics’ literary analyses. Then, a literary criticism written by Robert McNamara in his “Poetry Criticism, Vol. 31” is discussed, followed by a criticism included in Will and Ariel Durant’s “Interpretations of Life: A Survey of Contemporary Literature”.... [tags: T. S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock]
1802 words (5.1 pages)
- The Love Song of J.Alfred Prufrock - The Distress of J.Alfred Prufrock The human psyche is divided into three distinct aspects: the Persona, the Shadow, and the Anima/Animus; at least, it is according to Jungian Psychology. Drawing heavily on the theories developed by Freud, Jung's psychological concepts tell us that if these three facets are not properly integrated - that is, if one of the three is overly dominant, or repressed, or all three are in conflict with each other - then an individual's energies - his libido - will be out of alignment, causing psychological distress and unconscious problems.... [tags: Love Song J. Alfred Prufrock]
1080 words (3.1 pages)
- The Pitiful Prufrock of The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock T.S. Elliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," is a melancholy poem of one man's frustrated search to find the meaning of his existence. The speaker's strong use of imagery contributes to the poems theme of communion and loneliness. The Poem begins with an invitation from Prufrock to follow him through his self-examination. The imagery of this invitation begins with a startling simile, "Let us go then you and I/ When the evening is spread out against the sky/ Like a patient etherised upon a table." This simile literally describes the evening sky, but functions on another level.... [tags: Love Song J. Alfred Prufrock]
1314 words (3.8 pages)
- Time and The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock Pericles once said "Be ruled by time, the wisest counselor of all." This ruler of the past might not have had the technology of today, but he did not need it to recognize time’s domineering nature over all mankind. No matter what advances man makes, he will never be able to slow down time nor stop it completely; nor it appears will he be able to leap into the past or the future. Time is one thing that man cannot manipulate, instead it manipulates man.... [tags: Love Song J. Alfred Prufrock]
2012 words (5.7 pages)
- The editors of anthologies containing T. S. Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" invariably footnote the reference to Lazarus as John 11:1-44; rarely is the reference footnoted as Luke 16:19-31. Also, the reference to John the Baptist is invariably footnoted as Matthew 14:3-11; never have I seen the reference footnoted as an allusion to Oscar Wilde's Salome. The sources that one cites can profoundly affect interpretations of the poem. I believe that a correct reading of Eliot's "Prufrock" requires that one cite Wilde, in addition to Matthew, and Luke, in addition to John, as the sources for the John the Baptist and Lazarus being referenced.... [tags: Love Song J. Alfred Prufrock]
1939 words (5.5 pages)