The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

A Walk With Prufrock

T.S. Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" is the story a man contemplating emergence from his solitude into the world, a man capsized by the fear of being misunderstood. In this poem Eliot employs the quest motif in an ironic fashion to explore one man's internal struggle in an "etherized" society. Through a variety of obscure metonymic images Eliot sends Prufrock on the quest for the answer to a question never articulated, much in the sense that Prufrock can not articulate what he thinks. This is not the quintessential literary quest of the Romantics; it is a jarred fragmented quest of an isolated mind with no spatial alteration. This is reflective of the disintegrated broken world following World War I.

The first indication of the solitary nature of this expedition is the epigraph from Dante. This excerpt is Guido de Montefeltro speaking from the fiery pits of hell without trepidation of any human ever knowing his sin because he believes Dante cannot relay it. This insinuates that Prufrock is a similar character, speaking without fear of becoming known. One can intimate that the reason for this is that the context of this tale occurs within his own mind. Another indication that this is not...

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