Stearns Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” is not a
traditional love poem. Its original title is “Prufrock Among the
Women” however, the title is said to have a personal meaning to Eliot. Meanwhile,
the poem is a “dramatic monologue”; dramatic in a way that it is
written in the voice of the speaker other than the poet and a monologue because
it is evident that there is one person talking and “mono” means one.
The poem started in a modern world where
Prufrock shows similarity to da Montefeltro (a character from Dante’s Inferno)
however, Prufrock is the alter ego on Earth. In the beginning of the poem,
Prufrock is described presumably as a middle-aged, bald, intelligent, and
indecisive man who invites the reader over a dinner in a lonely city where the
images were sterile and deathly; and the sky looks “Like a patient etherized upon a table”, while down
below barren “half-deserted streets” reveal “one-night cheap
hotels / And sawdust restaurants”. Eliot used objective correlative all
throughout the poem. These images however, reflects Prufrock’s personality. The
city depicts his loneliness while the etherized patient depicts his paralysis.
26-29, “There will be time, there will be time, / To prepare a
face to meet the faces that you meet; / There will be time to murder and
create, / And time for all the works and days of hands, / That lift and drop a
question on your plate;” shows Prufrock’s intimidation by the social
posture he must engage in.
line 32-34, “And time yet for a hundred indecisions, / And for a hundred
visions and revisions, / Before the taking of a toast and tea”, Prufrock
is having an unhealthy approach of time;
clearly, he cannot make a decision and act it out which is why he is
imprisoned in the present time. In addition, it is shown in lines 37-86 how
Prufrock agonizes on his social actions. He is very worried on other people’s opinion.
As a result, he does not know how to act whenever he is thinking about a woman’s
arms and perfumes. However, he admits that he is afraid.
Moreover, Prufrock clearly shows
self-scrutiny and fear that he will “Disturb the universe”, line 46. However,
he is trying to overcome his fear by confronting himself but then admits that he
will reverse his decisions soon.