The five-line interlude ending on "the floors of silent seas" forms an encapsulated version of the remainder of the poem, in which the frustrated effort to establish purposive discourse leads once again to withdrawal downward and inward to a silent world of instinctual being. A return to images of distension and distracting sensuality provokes a final impulse toward violent imposition of the will--"to force the moment to its crisis"--which ends, like previous thoughts of disturbing the universe, in ruthless self-mockery. The image of decapitation parodies the theme of disconnected being and provides for at least a negative definition of the self: "I am no prophet."
By this point the tense has quietly shifted from present to past, and the speaker offers a series of prolonged interrogatives on the consequences of action not taken. While its grammatical context ("And would it have been worth it") reduces it to the contemplation of "what might have been"; the language and imagery of this passage enact with renewed intensity the recurring drama of mental conflict:
Would it have been worth while,
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball
To roll it towards some overwhelming question,
To say: "I am Lazarus, come from the dead,
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all."
The infinitives in this passage--to have bitten, to have squeezed, to roll--conform to the poem's widespread use of transitive verbs of direct action in expressing the speaker's violent impulse to combat the forces of disorder: to murder and create, to disturb the universe, to spit out all the butt-ends, to force the moment.
The poem's ling...
... middle of paper ...
...hich the author has elected to work, may itself evoke other psychic material; and then, lines of poetry may come into being, not from the original impulse, but from a secondary stimulation of the unconscious mind." The mental forces at work in Eliot's description of the poetic process serve as an analogy to the conflicts besetting the speaker in Prufrock. The speaker is a failed poet in terms of his inability to "murder" existing structures in order to "create" anew; be finds it impossible to say what be wants to say. In the "secondary stimulation of the unconscious mind" that occurs at this point, he partly abandons and partly resolves the struggle of form and matter; the integration of the psyche remains at best incomplete.
Conflicts in Consciousness: T.S. Eliot’s Poetry and Criticism. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1984.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot The poetry of the modernist movement is characterized by an emphasis on the alienation of the individual from the broader community in which he or she exists. In the works of T. S. Eliot, this alienation is expressed as a symptom of spiritual and moral decay within communities, societies, and entire civilizations. Eliot’s modernism, which was strongly influenced by his conversion to Anglo-Catholicism, is a harsh critique of the pervasive self-obsession of the modern secular world.... [tags: Love Song Prufrock T. S. Eliot Essays]
1537 words (4.4 pages)
- T S Eliot's Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock The Love Song is the lifetime of laments that one old-aged man remembers, which consist of his past failures. He then puts them into the context of his now-meaningless life to try to comprehend the significance and compensate for his loneliness. Through Eliot's rich imagery and excellent use of Poetic Language, Prufrock's explanation of his memories, his experiences and most importantly, his feelings (most of which are doubt) come alive in this poem.... [tags: Love Song J. Alfred Prufrock]
711 words (2 pages)
- T.S. Eliot exposes the reflections and emotions of J. Alfred Prufrock in this poem about his Love Song. Eliot does this in such a manner that Prufrock himself would not be capable of expressing, due to his rationale of showing the reader Prufrock’s diffidence throughout the poem. The attention of the reader is drawn from the beginning by Eliot’s utilization of an epigraph, which is a short saying or quote placed at the beginning of a writing to imply a theme. Eliot’s method of an epigraph helps create an effective way for the readers to identify and notice Prufrock’s uncertainty and lack of confidence in the poem.... [tags: T.S. Eliot]
902 words (2.6 pages)
- Explication of "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" Prufrock begins his “Love” song with a peculiar quote from Dante’s Divine Comedy. It reads: “If I believed that my answer were to a person who could ever return to the world, this flame would no longer quiver. But because no one ever returned from this depth, if what I hear is true, without fear of infamy, I answer you.” In the Divine Comedy these lines are spoken by a damned soul who had sought absolution before committing a crime.... [tags: Poems Poetry Analysis]
1342 words (3.8 pages)
- T.S. Eliot’s poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” is inhabited by both a richly developed world and character and one is able to categorize the spaces in “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” to correspond to Prufrock’s mind. Eliot uses the architecture of the three locations described in the text to explore parts of Prufrock's mind in the Freudian categories of id, ego, and super-ego; the city that is described becomes the Ego, the room where he encounters women his Id and the imagined ocean spaces his Super Ego.... [tags: Poetry Analysis ]
1547 words (4.4 pages)
- J. Alfred Prufrock is He Gay When we read T. S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” you almost get the feeling that Prufrock is gay. In fact, when the story is read a bit more in depth you can conclude that he is gay. The first flag that is raised to our attention of prufrock being gay is the fact that not once do we hear the name of his so called lover or even him calling her a lady. Therefore we might be able to conclude that this lady is in fact a guy. This would in turn bring up many situations in the story that are not brought to light if this story was read in different text.... [tags: essays papers]
794 words (2.3 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)
- 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 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)
- 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)