In "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufock" is it accurate that he called himself almost ridiculous?

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wordprof | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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This poem is not about "ridiculousness" at all -- that word implies other's opinions of the sense or nonsense of one's actions.  This is a poem that seeks to express the non-sense of our own actions, and the anguish that comes with existential choice.  "Do I dare.." and "That is not what I meant at all" and such expressions make clear that the narrator, an everyman in his advancing years, is looking at the facticity of his life and life-choices, seeking to not merely explain them, but to acknowledge their meaninglessness.  If we ask if the narrator asks himself whether he is ridiculous, we miss the poignancy of his self-assessment.  He is seeking not to evaluate, but to accept his life.  It is after all a love poem, not to someone else but to one's self.  The poet in the voice of the narrator, is both proclaiming his love for himself and listing to accept the flaws and imperfections in his love-object, himself.  That is what makes this poem such a remarkable statement of Mankind's dilemma in the post-modern world.  He "calls" himself ridiculous only in the sense that all Mankind is ridiculous.

   

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