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Prufrock - Ramy Shweiky LTEN 172 Professor Davidson Voice...

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Ramy Shweiky LTEN 172 Professor Davidson 10/30/07 Voice and Tone in “The Love Song of Alfred Prufrock” T. S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” utilizes the dramatic monologue of the fictitious character, Alfred Prufrock. Speaking through Prufrock’s fabricated voice, Eliot creates a sort of identity- or persona, characterized only by his use of voice and tone throughout the poem, as no background information or solid characteristics of the actual character Prufrock are ever given for the reader. Prufrock’s consistent self-awareness throughout the poem creates a tone of insecurity and self-doubt. This tone is reinforced by the poet’s repetition of the couplet: “In the room the women come and go/ Talking of Michelangelo”, as the constant reference to Michelangelo suggests that the woman are not talking about Prufrock because they are too busy talking about men such as Michelangelo, who have done great things, unlike Prufrock. In effect, Hugh Kenner is correct in claiming that Prufrock is simply “a name plus a voice”, that we know Prufrock only through his voice and nothing else really solidifies him as a character. Inevitably we see Prufrock as being insecure and self-agonizing, but only because of Eliot’s use of voice and tone throughout the poem, not because we have any history or actual facts about him. Even the title of the poem implies a romantic, happy tone, which is usually associated with so-called “love songs”. This poem however, is anything but the traditional love song, as the title of
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the poem and its hopeless tone serve as very contrasting elements, enforcing the depressing, self-pity that Prufrock feels for himself.
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