In "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," what kind of person is J. Alfred Prufrock?

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In T. S. Eliot's poem "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," it is the indecisive nature of the protagonist, Prufrock himself, which takes centerstage.

Prufrock is the speaker in the poem, which is primarily a lengthy meditation on the "overwhelming question" of whether he actually dares to take any steps to change the situation in which he finds himself. We know that Prufrock is not a young man: on the contrary, he tells us that he is growing old, and he dresses himself in the manner of an older man. He has a deep and abiding sense of his own unworthiness and does not feel he is even fit to play the protagonist in the story of his own life. On the contrary, he believes that he is more an "attendant lord" than a hero and that any attempts to change that would be at risk of disturbing "the universe." That is, Prufrock seems to believe that he was designed and characterized as an indecisive and timid person who should not "dare" take anything for himself and that this is simply the...

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on December 17, 2019