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

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock is one of the first remarkable poems of the city man and is also the first notable poem of T.S. Eliot. Prof. Pinto hails the poem as a landmark in English poetry because it marks a complete break with the 19th century tradition. Eliot presents the despair and passivity of a middle-aged man, Alfred J. Prufrock.

T. S. Eliot (1888-1965)

He is in love, but his love song is never sung, He meditates too much and his cowardice is his Achilles' heel. He is haunted by the problem whether he should reveal his love to the lady and he is undone. The poem is typically not of the 20th century but, of all ages. It deals with the emotional frustration and despair, hollowness of human beings living at any period in history.

Eliot's Love Song does not sing in praise of love. The title of the poem raises our expectation that in this poem we shall hear how a lover lays bare his heart at the feet of his beloved. But nothing of this sort happens in the poem. The title of the poem is ironic. The point of calling this poem a Love Song lies in the irony that it will never be sung; that Prufrock will never dare to voice what he feels".

This poem is an investigation of the disturbed consciousness of the typical modern man who is overeducated, powerful, anxious, and emotionally artificial. The speaker of the poem, Prufrock is addressing a lover, with whom he would like to somehow consummate their relationship. But he cannot “dare” an approach to the woman: He starts hearing the remarks others make about his weaknesses. He becomes conscious of his growing age and unkempt clothing. He rarely thinks of himself and cannot enjoy even a peach. He does not have the courage to do anything in life except thinking and thinking. At the end of the poem, he hears the mermaids singing for each other and he surely knows they won’t sing to him. 

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Shrestha, Roma. "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T. S. Eliot: Summary." BachelorandMaster, 4 Sep. 2017,