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“The Love Song of Alfred Prufrock” by T.S Eliot Essay

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Updated: Sep 26th, 2021

Background discussion

T.S Eliot, in the era of artistic movement called modernism, created innovative original and influential poetry of the twenty century. The poem under discussion reflects his recovery from the religious crisis and a nervous break down in his early age. The character Prufrock in the poem “love song” represents the same emotions of Eliot. He personifies the character of Prufrock in his own irreconcilable thoughts, feelings and wills in the middle age.

This is a passionate appeal of a middle aged, rejected, impotent, marginalized and a defeated person to have all appreciation for the beauties of life and the charms of romantic women but not capable of changing his course of life due to the danger of defeatism. Since this poem is a blend of classical and modern literature, it presents a unique portrayal of the literacy devices and figures of speech it. The presentation and array of simile, allusion, imagery, personification, rhyme and rhythm are all uniquely styled. The choice of style is also passionate and attractive for the reader. This unique piece of poetry convey its meanings to the reader on its reading between the lines too. The emotionality and psychological masterwork of language is like magic in the poem.

Literary devices at work in the “Love Song of S.Alfred Prufrock”

There are different literary devices that are fully at work in the poem “Love Song of S.Alfred Prufrock.

Simile /Allusion

The simile and allusion used in the poem are symbolic in nature and are enumerated as under:

The phrase works and days is a title of the long poem that describes hard working on a farm life.

Time for all the works and days of hands (29)

Shakespeare’ Twelfth Night is echoed in Orion’s first line.

I know the voices dying with a dying fall (52)

Concluding lines of Marvel’s to his Coy Mistress are echoed in

To have squeezed the universe into a ball (92).

The Canterbury Tales, a description of the Clark of oxford by Chaucer’s is echoed as

Full of high sense (117)

Images and Imagination

There are only superficial thoughts and images and it is at the outset very difficult to exactly see as to what is going on in the poem. The obvious and apparent thoughts portrayed in the poem at random create psychological and transitional links but not very logical.

The Epigraph

Epigraph in the poem serves to cast a satire and ironic light on the intent of the poem. In fact Eliot, it seems never intended to tell the story of his incapacitated love but through Prufrock love song he has done so successfully. In fact this poem is the true reflection of the multiple personalities of the poet presented in the shape of Prufrock. He puts two persons face-to-face together one as a storyteller and the other as a listener and the whole world listen to the story.

Stylistic Choice

The choice for the style of the poem makes it very difficult to differentiate the literary and symbolic devices used in the poem. In fact the Love Song truly represents the feelings of a Middle Aged sexually frustrated man who wants to have a liberal satisfying and full of love sex with the women of his choice. But he is afraid of being rejected and is not capable of putting his message across the sexy beautiful women.


Very lively out door images are personified in the poem like sky, fog, streets, hotels and cheap restaurants are used by the character. He passionately describes his experience of having afternoon tea and morning coffee in these places. In fact prufrock is physically going anywhere but he is playing with the thoughts in mind. The most interesting thing is that he imagines about the arms and clothing of a romantic woman but finally by the fear of rejection instead of approaching that woman he counts the days and nights of his life with the coffee spoons. He epitomizes the forms of rejection defeatism impotence and disillusionment of the society in this single and historic poem.


This poem is repository of layers after layers of irony representing a sterile, impotent and incapable posture with a lack of will to change his life in the middle age. The poem is also full of ironies like that of helplessness and immobility lacking to live a healthy life among the women of his choice. He feels himself in the character of Prufrock that he is rejected and his close associates also are marginalized and are unauthentic in the society. The Prufrock considers himself his life his associates and his universe having been rejected. The poem capably captures a full sense of defeat and the main character fails to act courageously. Eliot successfully blended references together with a stark realism and classics. However, this blend embodies a majestic language. The reader considers the love song of Alfred prufrock as his own story.

How these Figures of speech convey the meanings of the poem to the reader

The poem is a pure form of dramatic monologue in which Prufrock tells his wretched story of sterility, rejection from the society. The poem uses a long stream of consciousness as a befitting literary technique. This monologue is internal but at the same time the words you and I create a dilemmatic relationship between the author and character. These are the above-mentioned figures of speech through which Eliot using the tongue of Prufrock has been able to convey the full meanings of the poem to the readers. It largely depend upon the readers who consider either Prufrock as a story teller of his frustrations about normal, healthy and enjoyable sex life in the Middle Age of person.

The Epigraph, personification and allusion described above leave the reader make out his own meanings of life from the poem. There is much more of an interesting, psychological stream of conciseness that may not be logical but the meanings of the poem are conveyed in the configuration of the literary devices and figures of speech to the full extent. This is the mastery of Eliot in the love song that has attracted so much appreciation and criticism from all around the literary circle.

The most important literary device is the personification, which is at best used in this poem. The use of allusions can also be found in every stanza and almost in every second to third line. When the poet counts the days of his hapless life with the spoons of coffee he had taken in the mornings, he takes the reader into unlimited skies of imagination and reader thinks, smell and feels with the heart and mind of the poet himself.

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1. IvyPanda. ""The Love Song of Alfred Prufrock" by T.S Eliot." September 26, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-love-song-of-alfred-prufrock-by-ts-eliot/.


IvyPanda. ""The Love Song of Alfred Prufrock" by T.S Eliot." September 26, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-love-song-of-alfred-prufrock-by-ts-eliot/.


IvyPanda. 2021. ""The Love Song of Alfred Prufrock" by T.S Eliot." September 26, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-love-song-of-alfred-prufrock-by-ts-eliot/.


IvyPanda. (2021) '"The Love Song of Alfred Prufrock" by T.S Eliot'. 26 September.

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