"The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock" by T.S. Eliot

Essay by apple_producerHigh School, 11th gradeA+, April 2003

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In the poem "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" by T. S. Eliot, the main character, J. Alfred Prufrock is seen as an anti-hero. His character and identity comes through strongly in the poem as a shy and introverted man who is socially inept, extremely self conscious, lacking in self confidence and wallowing in self-pity, yet desiring for people to notice him. The composer shows this through his use of allusions, powerful imagery to create vignettes of Prufrock's life and the form of the poem as a disorderly train of thought, implying rather than telling.

Throughout the poem, T.S. Eliot uses many allusions in order to illustrate Prufrock's character and identity. The first such allusion is to the biblical character John the Baptist in lines 83-83; "Though I have seen my head (grown slightly bald) brought in upon a platter, I am no prophet - and here's no great matter."

This allusion refers to the fact that John the Baptist was executed by Salome and brought to her on a platter and that Prufrock sees himself in a same position; as a sacrifice to women. This reflects the fact that he is self conscious and cautious when it comes to relationships.

Another allusion to a biblical character was to Lazarus, who, like the character in the epigraph at the beginning of the poem, went to hell, but came back to life and talked about it. This allusion, like the epigraph, is parallel to the poem. Prufrock sees himself as being in hell; because of his lack of social ability, and like the person in the epigraph, wants to talk about his experiences because he feels that he will never get out of it. T.S. Eliot uses "I" and "you" to show the two sides to Prufrock;...