T.S. EliotS The Love Song Of J. Alfred Prufrock Philosophers recognize the harmony and duality of the universe with symbols like Ying and Yang. The title character in T.S. Eliot’s poem, “The Love Song of J.
Alfred Prufrock,” has not. The poem is an internal monologue where Prufrock reveals himself as lonely and timid. Prufrock is a man in conflict with his duality, the society he has to live in, and the long lost dreams of his youth. Hot and cold, fire and water; duality is part of nature. Prufrock is not in harmony with his two sides. On the surface Prufrock is like a field mouse, frozen by fear who asks, “Do I dare? And Do I dare?” Inside is a tiger that knows there is time to murder and create.
Prufrock is a tiger in the body of a field mouse. Prufrock’s field mouse is what society sees. Instead of cats and owls, ridicule and rejection are his natural enemies. Prufrock fears he is not able to meet society’s standard. He fears society will have him “pinned and wriggling on the wall.” J. Alfred Prufrock is afraid, not only of what they will say, but how society will look at him.
Prufrock’s inner tiger wants to ride “seaward on the waves” and experience the passion of his youth. He is aroused by the perfume from a dress, but is held back by fear. Now, he only dreams of “one night cheap hotels,” because he knows those times are past. He has seen his life pass by, teaspoon by teaspoon, and knows death is waiting; laughing at a life half lived. Some use the sun to measure days; Prufrock uses a coffee spoon.
No longer the man he was, and unable to deal with the man he has become, Prufrock can not coexist with himself or society. The poem, an internal monologue, reveals the timidity and loneliness of J. Alfred Prufrock. Poetry.