What is the theme of "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"?

The themes of “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” include the alienation in modern life, the desire for love, and the isolation and loneliness of the individual.

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The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” explores many complex and important ideas, but I think it would be especially interesting to discuss the theme of love, given the poem’s title. Additionally, the theme of love intersects with and highlights other important tropes in the poem, such as alienation and loss of empathy in modern society.

T.S. Eliot’s treatment of love in the poem is ironic, beginning from its non-heroic, balding protagonist to its lack of a beloved. Love is present in the love song more because of its absence. We aren’t very sure to whom Prufrock addresses his song, or if he even wants to find love with a flesh and blood human being.

Even before we delve into Prufrock’s “love song,” the epigraph, which alludes to Dante’s Inferno , sets the anti-romantic tone of the poem. In the epigraph, Dante converses with Guido, a soul in purgatory. The inference we can draw is that like Guido, Prufrock too is in a state of inaction and stasis. Unlike Dante, who has...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 1232 words.)

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on March 18, 2020