“The Love Song of Alfred J. Prufrock” is a poem written by T. S. Eliot, who introduces to the readers an overwhelming question, which pertains to whether the main character, Alfred Prufrock, should overcome his indecisiveness and fear or continue in his comfortable and dull existence. Prufrock is not happy with the decisions he has made in life, and that fact is very clear, as he tortures himself with internal conflict throughout the poem. In the beginning lines of the poem, he enthusiastically invites the reader, or possibly his alter ego, on a journey in the night.
However, he later describes “half deserted streets” holding “insidious intent;” this hardly paints a pleasant picture (Eliot 4,9). The streets seem to represent Prufrock’s internal debate; an internal debate that prevents him from taking action in the conflict Eliot uses to portray Prufrock’s struggle, opening up to a women. Unfortunately, Prufrock’s tendency is to have “a hundred visions and revisions,” and eventually “turn back and descend the stair” (Eliot 33,39). This refusal to act is the consequence of his apparent fear of rejection and failure.
His fear is simply a product of thought as he overly calculates his life, leaving a life unlived. To justify his decision, Prufrock says that he has “known them all already,” suggesting that all the women are the same, but in making the decision to not act, he delves deeper into a depleting future with no purpose (Eliot 49). Essentially, Prufrock convinces himself that he is satisfied with a secondary role in his own life, based on the fear that he will fail and be rejected. Therefore, Prufrock answers his question in a very unsatisfying way, as he chooses to remain comfortable.
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