Dante Alighieri 's Inferno : The Love Song Of J. Alfred Prufrock

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An epigraph from Dante Alighieri’s Inferno starts off the poem by T.S. Eliot known as “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.” In Italian the word inferno literally translates to hell. Thus, Inferno is an all too fitting title for the well known work of literature, especially when one takes into consideration that it occurs in the multi-layered and multi-faceted world of Hell. Eliot’s decision to use a section of Dante’s Inferno for his poem’s epigraph, not only leads the reader to believe that the speaker of the poem, J. Alfred Prufrock, cares just as much for his reputation as the speaker of the epigraph, Guido da Montefeltro, but it also suggests that time is much like it is in the depths of hell - everlasting and repetitive. The concept of time within “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” is further proven and developed when one delves into the context, as well as the actual text, of the literary work. Our first clue as readers into the nature of time within this poem, comes with the phrase “In the room the women come and go / Talking of Michelangelo” (Eliot ll. 13-14). Not only is this two-line stanza located near the beginning of the poem, but it also repeats itself further on in lines 35-36 of the poem. The fact that this phrase is a stanza by itself, even though it is only two lines, already seems to emphasize its importance. Couple that with the fact that this seemingly unrelated expression is repeated, and it is obvious these lines play a specific part. The…

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