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The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

by T.S. Eliot

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock Analysis

Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Welcome to the land of symbols, imagery, and wordplay. Before you travel any further, please know that there may be some thorny academic terminology ahead. Never fear, Shmoop is here. Check out our...

Form and Meter

A dialogue is a conversation between two people, but a monologue is just one person talking. ("Mono" means "one). But "Prufrock" is a "dramatic" monologue because the person talking is a fictional...

Speaker

There are at least three sides to our speaker, Prufrock. On one side we have the sneaky trickster, who invites us on a romantic walk only to lead us down windy roads and point out that the evening...

Setting

We start this journey in a dark, smelly neighborhood of London. It’s October. Steam is rising from the streets, and a sick yellow fog circulates around the crooked houses. Drunks are stumblin...

Sound Check

Eliot was kind enough to provide us with the perfect metaphor for the sound of this poem. It’s the cat-like fog that pads around the city in endless circles (lines 13-22). Eliot’s verse...

What's Up With the Title?

The original title of this poem wasn’t "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock." It was – ready for this? – "Prufrock Among the Women." We’re glad Eliot changed his mind about...

Calling Card

In poems like "The Waste Land," Eliot takes the time-honored principle of literary name-dropping to a whole new level. The poem has footnotes, for Pete’s sake! "Prufrock" gives only a sample...

Tough-O-Meter

Eliot frightens people more than almost any other poet. Like other modernists, he sometimes uses foreign language in his poems, and here we get an Epigraph in Italian. He also slips in sly referenc...

Brain Snacks

Sex Rating

Things start off racy as we walk through what appears to be a red-light district or some other seedy neighborhood, but Prufrock is too afraid of bodies to show us anything more than a hairy arm.

Shout Outs

Dante Alighieri, Inferno, Canto 27, lines 61-66 (epigraph)Andrew Marvell, "To His Coy Mistress" (line 23, first reference)Hesiod, Works and Days (line 29)William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night (line 52...

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