The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock Questions and Answers
by T. S. Eliot

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In "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," what is the major conflict presented in the poem?

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The major conflict of the poem is an internal one for the narrator, J. Alfred Prufrock: character versus self. Prufrock is ambivalent about posing a significant question to a woman. It is perhaps a proposal of marriage that he is considering, or maybe he just wants to ask her out—it is impossible to know. He wonders, "'Do I dare?'" several times, while describing his appearance. He tries to seem put together with his "morning coat, [his] collar mounting firmly to the chin / [His] necktie rich and modest but asserted by a simple pin." However, he is conscious of the things that other people will say about him: that his hair is thinning, that his arms and legs are also thin, and so on. He doesn't even know how to begin to ask his question.  

Prufrock seems to feel that everything going on around him at this party is shallow and meaningless. The "women come and go talking of Michelangelo," there are "tea and cakes and ices," and "Arms that are braceleted and white and bare," while he...

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