Why is "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" a love song?

"The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," while not adhering to the traditional idea of a love song, still qualifies as one because it describes the longing of the speaker for his beloved.

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"The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" is certainly no traditional love song, but that is why the poem is so unique. It is a love song as only its titular speaker could create: neurotic, awkward, and filled with uncertainty. This subversive intent is illustrated in the first three lines of the poem proper:

Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table

A normal love poem would make the night seem beautiful. Prufrock is instead uneasy and so evokes uncomfortable imagery to make his point.

A traditional love song features a lover or would-be lover speaking of or to their beloved. They might describe how lovely the object of their affection is, their romantic longings, their erotic desires, and their hopes for the future. They might compare their love to an endless ocean or some other beautiful metaphor . Think of Robert Burns's love poem "A Red, Red Rose," in which the speaker professes a love so powerful that it will last until the...

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on July 21, 2020