The Love Song Of J. Alfred Prufrock Essay

1157 Words Jun 4th, 2015 null Page
Recurring images of time, romantic disillusionment and memory reveal the inherent tension between the actual and the possible in Eliot’s poetry. The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock dismantles idealistic romanticism and exposes the pessimistic perspective on life, love and time that is central to modernism. At the time of writing, in 1911, Eliot was twenty two years old, and was battling with a lack of lyrical inspiration. For this reason, critics have argued that Prufrock 's romantic hesitations are a version of Eliot’s poetic anxieties. Rhapsody on a Windy Night has a similar mood and setting to The Love Song, with the former additionally presenting how memory links the actual and the possible. Time is a theme that recurs in many of Eliot’s poems, The Love Song being a notable example. Images of time herald the foreboding decay and death that drown the possible and leave the actual. The images of time can be seen through the ageing process, which reappears at many points in The Love Song. “Time yet for a hundred indecisions, / And for a hundred visions and revisions.” While Prufrock battles with his social anxiety his internal monologue reveals his ever growing fear of time. As the poem progresses, this fear becomes more acute, Eliot uses synecdoche to describe his fear of ageing; “How his hair is growing thin!” and “But how his arms and legs are thin!” The recurring sounds reinforce the tediousness of time and build on the fear of death that Eliot refers to: “I have seen…

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