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Analysis and comments on The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot

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Comment 44 of 824, added on March 20th, 2006 at 4:00 PM.

T.S. Eliot came from a very prim and propper society. There was no
"free-thought" when and where he grew up. This "song" tells us of his
desire for that free love. At the beginning he talks about he and his lover
going out and doing what they want (cheap hotels, sawdust
restarunts)something unheard of in his strict society. This society he grew
up with isn't exactly evil. He doesn't hate it, he just wants out. Yet he
see's himself on the outside looking in. His life is counted out by the
polite conversations which are not offensive and aren't productive to the
human reace. (They only thing they talk of is whats "talk of the time".
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons/I have measured out my life
with coffee spoons). He wants to break free but constantly wonders if he
dares(And indeed there will be time/To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I
dare?”). Does he dare? (No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be/Am
an attendant lord, one that will do/To swell a progress, start a scene or
two/Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool/) He doesn't believe he can
because he does not want to take that leadership position. He will be the
man in the background giving "advice" not making the difference. Yet he
desires passion, and free. The mermaids will not sing to him, they do not
call him to be free. Because as he watches them "they" call him back to
reality, and all his dreams drown.

Linana from Lebanon
Comment 43 of 824, added on March 18th, 2006 at 4:28 PM.

After the first reading of this poem, I was under impression that Prufrock
is a very shy person who is afraid of speaking even among the people he
knows. Before saying anything he makes "hundred indecisions," "hundred
visions and revisions," because he worries what others would think about
him. He is very self-aware and prefers to rehearse his owns thoughts, no
to look like a fool when he actually express them aloud ("how should I
begin," "[a]nd how should I presume?").
When I read the poem one more time, I realized that Prufrock's fear has a
different source. He knows that he has wasted most of his life ("I have
measured out my life with coffee spoons"), but he is too scared to do
anything about it. He passed his moment of the "greatness flicker", did not
achieve anything. Now, he is trapped in a silly society, which he calls his
"universe." Prufrock knows he should do something to stop the insignificant
"arty" discussions. The world is undergoing dramatic changes, and the
artist should do more valuable things than "talking of Michelangelo." He
asks himself: "Should I (…) / [h]ave a strength to force the moment to its
crisis?", but unfortunately he does not find the strength. That is why he
is a "modern (anti-)hero", "no prophet," who is afraid and lost in the
chaotic 20th century.
Prufrock is "modern" in his isolation. He keeps his monologue to himself,
indicating that he is not even a part of that 'group'. He feels he doesn't
belong anywhere, and this may be related to the feeling of alienation
characteristic for the Modern period.

Justyna from Poland
Comment 42 of 824, added on March 15th, 2006 at 2:03 PM.

This poem has so much into it, it makes it Amazing. I am writing an essay
on this poem. It is suppose to be only 400-600 words, I think I have now
laped it a second time. I have so much to say and write about. MMM think
professor would mind? Eliot is the King of moderism!!

Tess Young from United States
Comment 41 of 824, added on March 8th, 2006 at 9:19 AM.

I think an essential element is that he is making the decision to continue
to live a solitary life at that very moment. He is imagining the rest of
his life. Not only is he afraid to make any move, but that he is
consciously choosing not to. He is choosing to live life alone.

In the beginning, I feel he is imagining his invitation to this "woman",
and telling himself he has plenty of time for a proposal to "drop a
question on your plate".

He wonders if he should disturb the status quo.

He clearly is uncomfortable at social gatherings, and is imagining himself
becoming more and more self-conscious as he ages. His life measured in
coffe spoons is all of these parties he has known. He hates the social
events, where he is imagining his head upon a platter, and himslef
wriggling on the end of a pin.

He already knows all of the women that are available, although he is
tempted by the bare arms downed with light hair. He imagines them cozied
together and wonders whether to take a chance. He is afraid of aging and

But would it be worth it, all the endless teas and talking, if in the end
he is with someone, who "should say: That is not what I meant at all. That
is not it, at all." This line is so important he repeats it twice, so I
don't think it is a casual comment at a party. I think he is imagining life
with someone with whom he cannot communicate.

He is not Prince Hamlet...he is not the leading man, he is a sidekick, his
character is only in the play as a "Rosencrantz" to further the plotline.

He then imagines life alone, daring even to eat a peach.

Perhaps the mermaids are not the sirens of death. Perhaps the mermaids sing
of love, and that is the love song J. Alfred Prufrock has decided he does
not think he will ever hear. Perhaps we have lingered, in the false
limerance of love, but in the end, we would awaken from that dream and
drown in the misery of an unhappy life.

But that is just my interpretation, and that is the beauty of poetry.

Elise from United States
Comment 40 of 824, added on March 7th, 2006 at 5:30 PM.

This poem is so sad in that it chronicles the life of a man on his quest
for love. A man who has been on so many dates he can "measure out my life
in coffee spoons". A man forever dissected by the eyes of society so that
he can never change of even be himself. A man on the fringes of life
fearing he will die alone or unhappy. I feel immensly for Mr. Prufrock

Artemiis from United States
Comment 39 of 824, added on February 27th, 2006 at 9:21 PM.

I think that he is not necessarily speaking to himself, Prufrock could be
speaking to other men like him.
At the mermaids part, Prufrock hears them (singing each to each not to
him), then he sees them, then he swims with them, then he wakes up, and
THEN, after waking up, he drowns. I think that he drowns into some kind of
depression because when he wakes up from his dream he realizes that he will
never be with the mermaids.

Guillermo from Mexico
Comment 38 of 824, added on January 10th, 2006 at 6:28 AM.

I think Stephen from USA has it right. It's about a man who thinks he has
wasted most of his life, but he's still too scared to do anything to change
it. He's talking about how lots of people now (or back in 1915...) live
fake lives not doing what they want, because they're worried about what
others think. "Till Human Voices Wake Us/And We Drown" is saying that if
you listen to what people think of you and if you take it to heart, you'll,
well, drown.

Edith from Australia
Comment 37 of 824, added on December 20th, 2005 at 12:47 AM.

I do agree with "Faith" . I think Eliot criticizes the illegale
relationship between man and woman.

Amy from United States
Comment 36 of 824, added on December 13th, 2005 at 12:32 AM.

I have read about this poem and foud that its original title is (Prufrock
among women).Prufock weasted his youth illegaly with women and when he
became old he started looking for a partener.
I realy wonder why men & women donot think about marriage untel they lost
their youth. They make illegal relationship when they are young and once
they become old they look for legal relationship .i think those who live
like this donot deserve to have happy family.

Faith from Yemen
Comment 35 of 824, added on December 11th, 2005 at 11:49 PM.

This poem is simply amazing. I can't get over how much deep meaning there
is, waiting to be uncovered.

Really, I agree with Amber from Canada. I think that this poem is not
about love, but about the possibility, or missed opportunity to find love.
It's about lost time, and the "what ifs" that accompany misplaced intent.
I think that this piece is a lighthouse to those who think they have all
the time in the world. It points instead to the rocky shoals, and reminds
us that although we may live for a hundred years, it is our actions and not
our intents that make us who we are.

Clayton R. from United States

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Information about The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

Poet: T.S. Eliot
Poem: 1. The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
Volume: Prufrock and Other Observations
Year: 1917
Added: Jan 31 2004
Viewed: 291 times

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