Discuss how The Human Condition is explored by Eliot as a struggle for fulfillment in a meaningless world.

Essay by wyendHigh School, 11th gradeA-, April 2006

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The Human Condition can be defined as any experiences or emotions that makes us mortal, such as faith, love, suffering, weakness etc. Eliot uses dramatic monologue to reveal the character's soul to us. As the reader, we follow Prufrock through the streets as he describes the city while he ponders whether or not he should ask the all-important question. As the poem unfolds, it is revealed that the character is a middle-aged man who pines for love, but lacks self worth and fears rejection. These are all strong elements of the human condition that are explored throughout the poem. Through the use of imagery, Eliot describes a mundane, meaningless world in which Prufrock is isolated and alone in his miseries. This, coupled with his human weaknesses ultimately costs him the chance for happiness.

The poem tells the inner feelings of a man who's in love, but realizes that his feeling may well be unrequited.

His own descriptions of himself such as "a bald spot in the middle of my hair" and "I grow old...I grow old.../I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled", tells us that that he's a middle-aged man, with an overwhelming fear and insecurity of his position. He's worried about other people commenting on how "his hair is growing thin!" and "how his arms and legs are thin!" He acknowledges his inadequacies, and dresses modestly and appropriately to compensate for that.

"And I have known the arms already, known them all--.../ Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl." (Lines 62-67) shows that Prufrock has had relationships with women. He finds them attractive and is taken by their appearance. The passage indicates that he's had experiences with the same problems in confessing his love before, since he has "known them already". References...