The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

by T.S Eliot

The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window- panes,

The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window- panes

Licked its tongue into the concerns of the evening,

Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,

Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,

Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,

And seeing that it was a soft October night,

Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.

Reference :- These erotic lines have been taken from the poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” written by one of the most analyzed critics T.S. Eliot.

Context :-  The poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” is a modernistic poem in the form of a dramatic monologue which centers on holding, insecure middle- aged man. He expresses his thoughts about the dull, uneventful, mediocre life he leads, as a result of his feelings of inadequacy and his fear of making decisions. Unable to seize opportunities or to take risks (especially with women) He has described that he lives in a world that is the same today as it was yesterday and will be the same tomorrow as it is today. He does try to make progress, but his timidity and fear of failure inhibit him from taking action.

Explanation :-  In the given lines, the metaphor of a cat is first and most apparent. Eliot uses phrases such as “rub its back”, “rubs its muzzle”, “sudden leap”, “curled once about the house” and others to clearly point out the metaphor. With this, it is important to look into the reasoning behind the cat imagery. By nature, cats are not very sociable creatures. T.S. Eliot compares Prufrock to the cat in the given stanza. It fits his characterization well; Prufrock has a very hard time socializing with others (specially with women), and spends the entire poem trying to bring himself to talk to just one girl.

However, Eliot does not simply use metaphor to convey this in the stanza; careful words choice also leads to the same depiction. Prufrock refers to “yellow fog” and “yellow smoke”, which ties back to his own mind; clouded. He cannot act and is paralyzed, blocked by his own thoughts. The color yellow, often associated with cowardice, just supplements this idea. Further, the use of the word “lingered” shows us the notion of being reluctant to act.

Finally, when looking at the story of the cat as a whole in this stanza, nothing is accomplished. The cat essentially moves around in the night, but by the end it just “fell asleep”. In the same way as Prufrock, the cat did not act any significant way. Thus, T.S. Eliot’ use of an extended metaphor, coupled with some other literary techniques, paints Prufrock as a socially isolated character.

Critical Comment :- ‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock’ by T.S. Eliot has been centered around the world where, M.L. Rosenthal has commented that ‘Prufrock’ evidences a strongly adolescent flavor, asserting that the poem positively sweats panic at the challenge of the adult sexuality and living up to one’s ideal of what it is to be manly in any sort of heroic model, Another critic Ann P. Brady has written that Eliot was aware of this, maintaining that the poem reflects Prufrock back from the world in which he moves in a clinically hard way and that this contrast with romantic aspirations, the juxtaposition of lyricism with the tone of satire which creates the modernist tension.


Mac Flecknoe RTC- II

by John Dryden

The mantle fell to the young poet’s part

With double portion of his father’s art.

Reference:-    The above stanza has been taken from  “Mac Flecknoe”  written in mid 1670s by John Dryden and published anonymously without Dryden’s authority in 1682. These are the concluding lines of the last stanza of the poem having dramatic importance with immense.

Context:-      “Mac Flecknoe”  by John Dryden is one of the most popular work of English literature. It is a satiric poem, which becomes the cornerstone of Dryden’s success in his poetic career. This poem is an envision of Thomas Shadwell (the true- blue protestant poet). Dryden describes Thomas Shadwell as the heir to Richard Flecknoe’s poetic dullness.

Explanation:-   In the given lines, the poet’s last words of Flecknoe are scarcely heard as he suddenly falls in the trap- door which opens below his feet. But a Flecknoe falls, his woolen garment is carried upwards by a sudden gust of wind. This is the ‘mantle’ that falls on Shadwell, and he inherits from his father a stupidity which is two times more than that of Flecknoe.

The stupidity of Flecknoe has only been doubled in the absurdity of Mac Flecknoe, and the lampoon, it has reached its culminating point.

Critical comment:-   Mac Flecknoe is not a complete imitation of an epic as the action of the heroic or epic poem includes a battle also. Mac Flecknoe is concerned with the selection of Shadwell as the monarch of non- sense and his coronation.

Pop’s ‘The Rape of The Lock’ which is a mock- heroic poem that presents a battle with fans and snuff- box, nevertheless, Mac Flecknoe remains essentially a mock- heroic poem in the contrast of its grand form and the trivial subject matter.


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