Toward the end of the poem, Prufrock labels himself almost ridiculous. Why?

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missp0127 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Prufrock's poem is riddled with accounts of his own neuroses.  Lines 40-45 demonstrate that he is aware of his physical shortcomings and worried that other people may be talking about him behind his back.  The poem as a whole, however, is about Prufrock's anxiety over a woman.  He is trying to decide how to approach her or find out her feelings toward him.  He is obviously fond of--if not in love with--her and the audience gets the feeling from Prufrock that she has no idea his intentions.  Throughout the poem he frets about her and his own shortcomings until the end where he calls himself almost ridiculous--a fool.  He feels this way about himself because he is no hero and has little to offer.  In line 111 he says he is "not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be."  He thinks himself as foolish for thinking he could approach the object of his desire.  That type of behavior is meant for men more heroic than he.  His neuroses and anxieties prevent him from considering that approaching a woman is a normal act of society.

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The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

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