T. S. Eliot


The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock


S'io credesse che mia risposta fosse
A persona che mai tornasse al mondo,
Questa fiamma staria senza piu scosse.
........................
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T. S. Eliot's Other Poems

  • Little Gidding from Four Quart
  • Preludes
  • Burnt Norton from Four Quartet
  • Journey of the Magi
  • Hysteria
  • Portrait of a Lady
  • East Coker from Four Quartets

Comments about this poem (The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T. S. Eliot )

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  • Ryan Walker (10/11/2011 9:10:00 PM)

    How is this poem not ranked higher? This piece is considered a masterpiece of the Modernist movement. (Report) Reply

  • Mohammad Akmal Nazir (7/6/2011 2:04:00 PM)

    The poem offers a fine example of the use of human psychology. The behaviour of Mr Prufrock shows his mental agony, inferiority complex and suppressed desire. Mr Prufrock has beenpresented by Eliot as a tragic figure with the classical flaw and timidity. This timidity of his forces himnot to take any action. He is intensely self-conscious and always thinks what the lady might say when he would present himself before the lady. He thinks she will comment 'How his hair is growing thin? ' And again 'Buthow his arms and legs are thin? ' Prufrock is quite aware of his tragic flaw hence to attain required courage and strength he takes shelter of fasting and praying and tries to comparehimself to John the Baptist but all ends in smoke as he suffers bitterly from this tragic flaw. I liked the poem for its strong structure and vivid imagery. (Report) Reply

  • Yelena M. (9/19/2009 10:19:00 AM)

    Another translation of the epigraph:


    ``If I thought that I was speaking to
    A soul that one day may return to see the world,
    Most probably this flame would cease to flicker;
    But as no one ever returns alive from this deep pit,
    If this is the truth I hear,
    Without fear of dishonor I answer you''

    (Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy: Inferno, Canto XXVII,61-66) (Report) Reply

  • Deborah Schuff (3/28/2009 3:39:00 AM)

    The older I grow, the more I appreciate this poem. Wonderful imagery! Such poignancy for a life lived and soon to be over! (Report) Reply

  • Márcio Reis (10/9/2008 8:38:00 PM)

    I think this poem is one of the best poems I've read at the University. Another awesome poem is 'Ode Triunfal' from Fernando Pessoa. (Report) Reply

  • Robert Quilter (9/29/2008 9:18:00 AM)

    I had not read this, for such a long time. It reminds me of the grandfather of a long lost childhood friend. On days we 'vacationed' from school, we would go around to grandfather' Chalk's house, eat sweets(candies) and watch never ending horse racing on tv.Grandfather Chalk would, when encouraged with drink, carry on with us a mostly one sided conversation about life, hell, philosophers, past loves and when stretched completly random mutterings, very loosely attached to each other.This was constantly interrupted by the ends of the horse races, in a fit of cursing when his chosen horse came fourth, last or fell.
    I enjoyed the visits, enjoyed the hard to follow conversation, learnt a few thingsand cameto appreciate a fe finer things in life.
    Yes, i liked this poem. (Report) Reply

  • Zoe Lawson (8/14/2008 1:42:00 PM)

    just enjoy the poem. any poem is about u loving it or not. dont try so hard to prove u undersatnd the poet because chances are - you don't. Not many ever will. just enjoy it! (Report) Reply

  • Kaye Cee (7/27/2008 8:58:00 PM)

    I do not know what's the issue between Gerome and Shane, but I'd like to tell Shane you keep using 'your' when you should use 'you're.' (Report) Reply

  • Gerome Ferreira (12/12/2007 3:48:00 PM)

    I read this poem more than 50 times and everything I find something that I love more than the last time I read it. I put this poem is one of my top 10 of all time.

    One of the most beautiful lines I have ever read and the last stanza is phenonmenal
    'I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.I do not think that they will sing to me.'


    We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
    By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
    Till human voices wake us, and we drown. (Report) Reply

  • Shane Johnson (10/20/2007 11:40:00 AM)

    I think your premature at analyzing poetry if you find such a great work to be elementary. Its hard for me to listen to you compare Eliot's work to Sylvester the cat, and not think your utterly ridiculous.

    I don't think winning a Nobel prize makes Eliot a great poet, I think his work speaks for itself without mass human recognition.

    You should really give this poem a couple more reads before you make such superficial comments. (Report) Reply

  • Moz B (9/25/2007 6:26:00 PM)

    That's the point, isn't it, Nick? Prufrock moves between ridiculous and poignant, changing tack every few verses, as if he's laughing at himself every time he gets too serious. (Report) Reply

  • Nick Capozzoli (8/1/2007 1:00:00 AM)

    When I first read this poem at age 16 I was overwhelmed and believed it to be the height of poetry, indeed the best short poem in English. Of course my reading at that time was limited to Wordsworth, Poe, and the 'quaint' Dickenson stuff (I like to see it lap the miles') etc. that we read in High School Lit. That is to say, Prufrock resonated with my adolescent psyche that was relatively uninformed by either adult experience or really great poetry.

    It's hard for me not to read Prufrock with hearing the lines read with the sputtering voice of Sylvester the Cat...'Let us go thennh, you and eyeee...when the eveing is spreaddh outt againsst the skyyee' etc.

    I suppose you could say that this poem is ironic. If so, it's heavy handed. The sentiment is self-indulgent and puerile, and the imagery is mawkish and painfully embarassing and laughable. Hey, but that's just my opinion. TSE did win the Nobel Prize, so he must be a great poet. (Report) Reply

  • John Fargo (4/17/2007 9:09:00 PM)

    The epigraph is from Dante's Inferno, where Guido da Montefeltro tells Dante, 'If I thought that my reply would be to one who would ever return to the world, this flame would stay without further movement; but since none has ever returned alive from this depth, if what I hear is true, I answer you without fear of infamy.' Guido told Dante his story but only because he thought Dante wouldn't return from hell. This means that Prufrock wouldn't want anyone to know this that could make it public.

    Personally, I think that the following lines are among the most powerful I have ever read:
    'I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.
    I do not think that they will sing to me.'

    Very well done poem... one of the best. (Report) Reply

  • Joseph Daly (11/12/2005 3:54:00 AM)

    Some of you may like to visit the site salon.com where you can listen to Elliot's reading of this (streamed) . Along with other great poets and writers. (Report) Reply

  • Max Reif (11/11/2005 10:38:00 AM)

    It's a great poem, it's a great experience to read it aloud. Every line is so sonorous, and it's all images (which is one of the reasons there may not be a 'definitive' interpretation. Thank you for your comments, Denis, Martha, Uriah. (Report) Reply

  • Martha Lewis (10/13/2005 5:58:00 AM)

    Anyone interested in TSE? I recommend that you watch the film 'Tom and Viv.' It is not the most flattering portrayal of Eliot; however, as the previous reviewer notes, he crafted his poetry during a time of immense historical upheaval and I felt that the film did a terrific job of conveying that to its audience. A gem with some great performances.

    Also notable is the film 'Til Human Voices Wake Us, ' the title actually being a line from the poem. It stars Guy Pearce/Helena Bonham Carter. Great flick, but just references the poem. (Report) Reply

  • Joseph Daly (9/23/2005 9:34:00 AM)

    I have read this poem so many times I now feel that I know it as if I had grown up with it. I first read it when I was about 20 years old (I am now nearing 50) .

    A lot of interpretations of Prufrock seem to concentrate on the literal; what is Elliot saying to us? I am not sure that that is the correct approach. Engaging in all art forms requires us to think for ourselves and not sucumb to the dictates of the artist. As with Wagner, for example, one need not adhere to the reactionary views of the artist to appreciate their greatness. With this in mind I feel that this poem (to me; one of the greatest and most beautiful pieces of writing in the English language) seems to concern itself with doubt. Whether Prufrock does not leave his room (as some commentators have suggested) , and imagines the streets in which he requests our company, is neither here nor there. Prufrock doubts, not just his own ability to be a social animal, but seems to doubt any form of society.

    At the time of writing The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock, the world was embroiled in a savage war. Revolutionary uprisings throughout Europe threw into question the validity of a society that could engage in such slaughter. For Elliot's generation the First World War must have turned everything on its head.

    Although Elliot is 'out of fashion' these days, I feel that The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock has more resonance to the world of today than it has had since its conception. Today we live in a world of mistrust, not simply of other nations or races, but even our families, our friends, our neighbors. In a world were we are meant to suspect all, then doubt reigns supreme.

    Elliot's poem does not provide any answers (it is debateable whether this is the job of the artist) what it does seem to say to us today is that we - humanity- have been here before. In that lies its greatness. (Report) Reply

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