Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock Essay: Inability to Love

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Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock - Inability to Love   T. S. Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" is not a poem about love, at least in any traditional sense. Rather It is a collection of the fragmented thoughts of a man without self-esteem. Far from being about love, it is about one man's inability to love (himself or the world around him.) It is the cynical statement of a man who does not believe good things will ever happen to him, or that the world has anything to offer him.

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Personally, when I read this poem, I feel as though I am being granted an insight into this character's mind, and in him I can see a reflection and an accentuation of the insecurities I myself have felt at times. It is not totally clear where the poem is set, and what exactly is the nature of the action that takes place; but to me it seems likely that the location is in some sort of art gallery or similar setting, where "In the room the women come and go / Talking of Michelangelo."3 Although there is a group of people referred to in the poem, it seems that one of the women in the group has a special significance for Prufrock, although it is not clear exactly what their relationship is. Perhaps it is just a woman that he admires.

The poem is filled with examples of Prufrock's insecurities, uncertainties, and indecisiveness. When he talks about "a hundred indecisions / And for a hundred visions and revisions"4, one gets the impression that Prufrock is prone to oscillating between action and inaction; between retreat and advance. He asks of himself, "Do I dare?"5 repeatedly, as he is not sure of how to conduct himself in the presence of these women. He goes on to ask, "Do I dare / Disturb the universe?"6 Perhaps he is asking whether or not he dares to upset the natural order, and order in which he perceives himself as doomed to a life of loneliness and misunderstanding. He has all these feelings of his own, and more, but he is
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