The Love Song That was Never Sung
A love song or a profession of love usually includes a culminating point where the suitor finally professes his love toward the woman. However T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” is almost a guide on how to dissuade oneself from professing love to a woman. It does this by combining several different poetic methods to display a situation of desperation and trapped isolation. Basically, Alfred is clear on the fact that he wants to be a part of this woman’s –whom he loves- life, but he cannot bring himself to the complete the act, to say “I love you.” The poem itself consists of all of the reasons, going through Alfred’s head, why he should not profess his love. Imagery, literary allusion, and structure are prominent tools used by Eliot to convey the man’s feelings in the poem. Eliot’s criticism of the modern man of his time is another strong theme in this poem. A demonstration of this is clear when Eliot presents Alfred as a modern man, and then he criticizes modern men’s being with Alfred’s thoughts. The inability of taking action, or cowardice, is evidently the over arching theme in this presentation. One of the minor themes that play well into the all encompassing theme is Eliot’s interpretation of the modern man.
The modern man, according to Eliot, is someone who lacks the ability to take a leap of faith or risk something no matter the importance. Prufrock is an extreme representation of the modern man and Eliot demonstrates this with these lines, “There will be time, there will be time...To wonder, ‘Do I dare?’ and ‘Do I dare?” (26, 38). Time and doubt create a barrier between Prufrock’s heart and his actions which yields him from displaying his tr...
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...role of the “Fool” found in line 118. Once again, Alfred has found even more excuses for not taking any action by relating how he believes he will fail because of his lack of great status. Therefore, he never did take that leap of faith that he earnestly wanted to.
No one can ever have courage without fear because then courage would not require so much heart and strength to muster. Even though Alfred possessed a certain fear, he did not have enough heart to be courageous and take a step bigger than those “measured in coffee spoons.” Therefore, with the use of, imagery, literary allusion, and structure, Eliot was able to create a poem that criticized the modern man that affected his heart. Just think--why men said to themselves--that they finally had a noble and courageous cause to fight for when The Great War began only a few years after this poem was published.
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