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The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

Uploaded by schmick on May 06, 2002

“There is a difference between the way Prufrock sees himself, and the way the poem reveals him to us. He dramatises himself as a sensitive and slightly tragic figure; the poem exposes him as comic”. Does this correspond to your own reading of ‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock’?

In the poem ‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock’, Prufrock sees himself as a victim social status. He believes that he is constantly being analysed by others and that he has been alienated from society. However Prufrocks way of life is not comic, but is rather the opposite: in that he is insecure; unable to make clear decisions; melodramatic and reserved. It is clear that in order to get what he wants, Prufrock has to be realistic, accept his life and his personality.

In the poem, Prufrocks main interest lies in the upper class women, ‘in the room the women come and go/ Talking of Michelangelo.’. He is also struggling to leave his previous life behind him, to join the more cultured and civilised society. The frequently repeated question ‘How should I presume?’ demonstrates that Prufrock believes he is attempting to presume a status which isn’t rightfully his. Thus he regards himself as a victim of social status, who is unable to alter his standing in English society. This view is also evident in the line ‘No! I am not Prince hamlet, nor was meant to be;/ Am an attendant lord’, where Prufrock downsizes his role in society, saying that he is destined to remain a minor character, and is unable to take on a major role in society.

The metaphor ‘when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,/ When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall’, suggests that Prufrock feels threatened by people, believing that they are constantly judging, analysing and categorising him, similar to an insect which has been pinned on a board for observation. Throughout the poem, Prufrock debates with himself wether or not he will ask one of the high-class women a question on the topic of his feelings of adoration for her. After much antagonising, Prufrock is unable to ask the question, as he is too afraid of the possible repercussions and the judgement which he might face.

One of Prufrocks main concerns is that he has been alienated from society and that he does not belong anywhere. This can be seen in the...

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Uploaded by:   schmick

Date:   05/06/2002

Category:   Poetry

Length:   6 pages (1,268 words)

Views:   2452

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