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J. Alfred Profrock's Love Song - theme of confusion and isolation of modern men.

 J. Alfred Profrock's Love Song

T. S. Eliot


Q. How does T. S. Eliot bring about the confusion and isolation of modern men through his poem, J. Alfred Profrock's Love Song?

Answer: T.S Eliot expresses the modern man in confusion from various angles. He believes that modern man lives in confusion in this modern age which leads him to isolation. Modern man has lost the consciousness of religion because he was cut off from the spiritual world.

“The muttering retreats

Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels

And sawdust restaurants with oysters-shell:”

The sight of missing voices in abandoned streets refers to illicit sexual behavior in cheap hotels. As a result, it specifies moral confusion in city life.

“To lead you to an overwhelming question,

Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”

The situation leads to an unexpected question that has no right answer. Even the narrator prevents the reader from asking about the situation. It leads to confusion. He doesn't know why and how he will deal with the situation here; he doesn't even know the meaning of his life. Women come to the house and talk about Michelangelo. Women are interested in talking about Michelangelo and it gives rise to the confusion in the minds of modern people as to why women keep talking about Michelangelo. The poem shows no indication of that. Presents spiritual confusion separates him from religion, and that separation is spiritual confusion. Besides, it can be said that physically and spiritually modern people are confused.

Fallen into the utter despair state Profrock makes a tangible conversation with his ego, addressing him as ‘you’. Therefore he has acknowledged that:  

“Time for you and time for me,

 And time yet for a hundred indecisions,

And for a hundred visions and revisions”,

The confusion of modern man has robbed us of the ability to make decisions. Despite being educated, he is not able to take any verdict. And the time will come to really wonder,

"Do I dare?" And, "Do I dare?"

The modern man, a highly educated man, with a bald spot in the middle of hair as he descends the stairs back and forth, he is not able to ask and tell the secrets of his heart, especially to women. He is worried about the consequences of being rejected. The bald spot, in the middle of her hair, makes her even more confused that she thinks her sweetheart will not accept her in this look.

Music from a house farther sways the situation. “So how should I guess?”  His lifestyle and environment do not encourage him to do what he has in mind. Even though, he has an education. And lives a middle-class life, he is once again confused as to how to pursue his aspirations.

He is able to guess his lifestyle but knows all. He also occasionally questions his existence as to what he is doing here. Crying out in frustration, he dismisses this "impossible" rush for money: again, it just came to a sudden figure of confusion.

Modern people do not know what he is doing here. He just wastes his time watching people do their work. Modern man is so isolated that he spends time leaning out the window and watching the people arrive. He is unsure about the things he is observing on a daily basis.

Thus, Eliot evokes through his mouthpiece namely Profrock, the sympathetic plight of Modern men. They live an isolated life which makes them dull. He is not conveying his message properly. He prepares his mind over and over again to convey the message of his mind correctly but then he starts thinking about the validity of his words.

“Do I dare?

Disturb the universe? ……

How should I presume?”

His questions prove that Profrock is lost in the confusion of the modern world and this prevents him from getting to know other people around him.

In conclusion, T. S. Eliot is considered one of the most influential and well-known writers of the twentieth century. He showed an innovative style of modern life. He discusses issues related to modern society. T. S. Elliott in his poem, J. Alfred Proofrock's Love Song depicts the confusion of modern man. The modern man is searching for the goal of his life and he wants to fit himself into the people around him. People are living together but they lack communication. They are confused to be part of the modern world. Modern man is far from the religion that creates spiritual confusion. Modern man is well educated but not able to convey his thoughts to the women around him. He is therefore afraid of rejection, his actions are also misleading. Many researchers have discussed this poem in various ways, but the researcher has only focused on the main themes of confusion that relate to modern man.


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