The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

Eliot’s Poetic Techniques and the Character of J. Alfred Prufrock 11th Grade

The first factor of the poem which is striking is the title: the fact that it is a ‘Love Song’ suggest closeness and romance which is then removed by the way in which he signs his name. ‘J. Alfred Prufrock’ appears to be more personal than simply his surname because it is individual to him but at the same time it could be interpreted as somewhat formal due to its fullness. Something else which seems strange at first is the name itself; the ‘fr’ sounds give it a weak, possibly feminine sound which is similar to his personality.

The man himself, Prufrock, is clearly quite eloquent and well educated but has problems with showing emotion and therefore finds relationships difficult. This is shown in the first three lines which being apparently romantically with mention ‘the evening... spread out against the sky’ in the second line but this image is corrupted by his attempt at a simile ‘like a patient etherised upon a table’. This use of a simile suggests education but the manner of it also outlines his lack of romance. Due to the fact that the poem is a ‘love song’ it would appear that Prufrock is referring to his lover when he says ‘Let us go then, you and I’, although he could also be talking directly to the reader.

Despite the...

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