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Biplob Prodhan
  • 1 week ago
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How does Eliot build up an atmosphere of futility and barrenness in The Love song of J. Alfred Prufrock? [N.U. 2016]

 Or, Discuss how The Love song of J. Alfred Prufrock represents the conflict of a modern man. Or, How does T. S. Eliot express the conflict of modern man in the poem The Love song of J. Alfred Prufrock?  Or, What is Prufrock’s dilemma? Does he succeed in resolving it? Or, Comment on the theme of hesitation and indecision/ procrastination in The Love song of J. Alfred Prufrock.
[N.U. 2015, ’17]

Ans. The Love song of J. Alfred Prufrock is a dramatic monologue presenting a middle aged modern man who is unable to take a decision about making the proposal of marriage to the lady he loves. Prufrock is a neurotic character, he feels helpless and confused in his attitude to love. He realises futility and impotence of his life.

J. Alfred Prufrock is the central character of T. S. Eliot’s famous man. poem The Love song of J. Alfred Prufrock. The poem is in the nature of an interior monologue. Prufrock is not an actual character but a successful model of a modern man. His speech and activities show the temperament and character of a modern r Prufrock is a character who wants to make love to women but he does not have the courage to propose a lady. He is timid and nervous. He is so paralysed of his will that he cannot bring himself to propose to his lady because he thinks that whatever he says to the lady will be answered by “That is not what I meant at all. Behind this hesitating mental condition of Prufrock we find a disease of modern routine works, the aimless life of the city dwellers and the monotonous round of social parties.

Prufrock is very timid and his timidity results from his experience about the society in which he lives. His life is a series of meaningless activities because he is unable of ‘dare’ and ‘force’ the movement to a crisis’. He knows “Arms that are bracelated and white and bare’ and ‘perfume from a dress’, but he is incapable of action. Thus he exhibits a Hamlet like temperament. Hamlet has put the nature of his own ailment in such remarks as “thus conscience doth make cowards of us all and the native hue of resolution is sicklied over with the palecast of thought.” it means that the hyper of intellect paralyses that will to act and breeds procrastination.

Prufrock represents a man of split personality. He has no power to reach decision whether he should propose to his sweetheart or not. He represents a split consciousness, a division between heart and head. In fact, he has two selves, a romantic and a realist. His heart is his romantic self clearly suggests that he lacks the necessary courage to speak out his feelings and propose to her. However, his romantic self does not loosen its hold upon him. So he begins to ponder.

“Then how should I began
To spit out all the butt ends of my day And how should I presume?”

At one time Prufrock thinks of a plan to make a proposal to his ladylove, but he feels nervous to talk about himself. He is afraid of death. Prufrock takes refreshment to gather courage to make a decision. Supposing he talked about his proposal to his Lady, but she might turn round and tell him that she had no desire to marry him. That is why he feels extremely nervous.

The poem ends where it began. There is no progress. The poet has succeeded in highlighting the dilemma of enervated man as well as the sordidness and pettiness of modern urban civilisation. He seems to represent thwarted desires and modern disillusionment.

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Biplob Prodhan
Biplob Prodhan Founder & Director EDNOUB Foundation Ednoub Private Program

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