Poem Analysis

My Last Duchess By Robert Browning

My Last Duchess By Robert Browning Analysis, & Dramatic Mononlogue

My Last Duchess By Robert Browning
My Last Duchess By Robert Browning


          My Last Duchess is probably Robert Browning’s most popular poem, which deals with Victorian social issues about the condition of women. It first appeared in 1842 in Dramatic Lyrics by the title Italy. Seven years later, the title was changed to “My Last Duchess” in 1849. The major reason for the fame of My Last Duchess is that it is probably the first example of Robert Browning’s dramatic monologue.

            The poem is about an Italian Duke, the Duke of Ferrara (also known as Alfonza II), who supposedly killed his first wife and is now planning another wedding to another woman. He displays a painting of his dead wife in his house and reveals it to a visitor. The poem explores the Duke’s, Obsessive Love.

About Robert Browning

          Robert Browning is a prolific Victorian- Era playwright. He is widely recognized as the master of Dramatic Monologue. A Dramatic Monologue is a type of poetry in which an imagined speaker addresses a silent listener, usually not the reader. Browning’s monologues present a different aspect of love and its intensity.

            Browning first major work Pauline is published in 1833. When he reads some poem by Elizabeth Barret, he falls in love with her without seeing her. His world-famous works included – Man and Woman, The Ring and The Book, Dramatic Personae, and Prospice.

Historical Background

            The poem was written during the Industrial Revolution when society was starting to see social mobility in terms of class as well as gender. Women were starting to demand equality. Before women have no legal rights, they would become the property of their husbands. The only way for a woman to gain status is through her husband. When Browning wrote this poem he had this thing in mind so through this poem he tried to explore the injustice of the male dominant society.

My Last Duchess As a Dramatic Monologue

          The Poem My Last Duchess is a dramatic monologue. It maintains the tradition of dramatic monologue and that is the presence of a speaker and the listener. The speaker in the poem is considered to be the Duke of Ferrara and the listener is the guest who comes to visit the Duke.

The important feature of the dramatic monologue is the abrupt beginning. The poem starts somewhere in the middle of the poem,

“That’s My Last Duchess Painted on the wall.”

            Another characteristic of the dramatic monologue in this poem is the psychological analysis of the Duke and Duchess. Robert Browning here successfully analysis Duke’s psychology and shows us that the Duke is an egocentric, possessive husband, a cruel and vengeful person, a proud aristocrat, a greedy bridegroom, and an alienated person. He loves artwork more than humans.


            However, the poem throws insight into social realism as a dramatic monologue. The Victorian era was a class-conscious society and especially women were bounded to certain conventional norms.

            Moreover, Browning sketches the character of the Duchess through a dramatic monologue. The Duke tells his guests that Duchess liked everything and everyone she saw which reflects that she was sleeping around with another man. He even further argues that she gives an equal amount of smiles to another man who passes her and he tries to sketch her as an immoral woman.

Structure and Form

          My Last Duchess by Robert Browning is a Dramatic Monologue written in five sections. The poem is written mostly in iambic pentameter. This means that the lines contain five sets of two beats, the first of which is unstressed and the second of which of is stressed. There are a few examples of trochee and other stresses.

Themes Of The My Last Duchess

  1. The role of women in society and relationship
  2. Deception.
  3. Ownership, Power, Cruelty, Greed, and Jealousy.
  4. Control Over A Partner and Dominance in a relationship.
  5. Art and Influence.

Setting Of The Poem

          The poem is set in the Italian town of Ferrara during the Renaissance period. The Duke who is also the speaker is supposedly Alfonso the second Alfonso is the fifth Duke of Ferrar and he lived during the 16th century. The Duchess is considered to be Lucrezia de Medici, the Wife of Alfonso.

Analysis Of The Poem

          In the opening lines of the poem, the speaker talks about His Last Duchess. The speaker is a Duke and he is addressing an unknown or silent listener. The Duke points towards the painting of his Duchess on the wall who is dead now. The picture of the Duchess is so beautifully painted that the speaker says it seems that she is standing alive in front of him.

The Duke praises the painting and calls it a masterpiece. He also tells the listener about the artist or the painter who produced this amazing piece of wonder. He says that Fra Pandolf worked hard and it took him an entire day to complete it and give it a realistic effect. The painting seems as if the Duchess is alive and standing in front of the Duke.

            The Duke then invites the listener to sit down and focus on the beauty of the painting. He asks him to examine the painting and admire its art.

             The Duke tells the listener that he told him the name of the painter because everyone who looks at this painting, wants to know about the person who produced this piece of art. The People or the stranger who see this painting, also want to question how the painter portrayed so much depth and passion on the face of the Duchess and gave her expressions that look absolutely real. The Duke is only allowed to draw the curtain back that hangs over the painting. It means that only Duke can see this painting or show it to anyone else if he wants.

            He further tells the listener that he is not the first one who is surprised to see this beautiful art.

            The Duke keeps on addressing his silent listener and this time he calls him Sir. He explains the expression of the Duchess in the painting and tells the listener that the smile and the blush that he can see on her cheeks were not because of her husband’s presence. The Duchess was not happy because the Duke was around. Something else was the reason behind the Duchess’s Joy and Duke seemed jealous of these things because he always wanted her to have these expressions of joy on her face just for her husband.

            The Duke starts guessing the reason behind the Duchess’s happiness. He suggests that maybe she smiled because Fra Pandolf praised her beauty. Duke criticizes his Duchess saying that she thought that courtesy or polite comments are enough to make her happy. It shows that the Duke didn’t want her to be happy or blush. On trivial compliments of everyone. He only wanted her to be happy in her husband’s presence or on his compliment.

             The Duke next explains the nature of his late Duchess to the listener. He says that the Duchess had a gentle heart, she liked and praised everything that she looked at. In short, it was very easy for everyone to make her happy or to impress her with anything. In these lines, the Duke is not praising the Duchess but he is criticizing her.

            The above lines give the idea that Duchess was very kind and down to earth but she was not what the Duke wanted his wife to be.

            Next, the Duke calls his listener Sir and tells him further about the behavior of his Duchess. He tells if he brought her any present, brooch, or jewelry that she could wear on her chest, she used to smile or thanked him for the present but she became equally happy on trivial things like watching the sun, setting in the west, the branch of cherries, that some random fool brings for her from the orchard or the white mule on which she rode around the terrace.

Duke further tells him that she praised all these things equally or blushed in a similar way each time. It shows that though the Duke expected a special response from his wife yet the Duchess treated everything equally. Now it is clear that the Duke wanted his Duchess to pay special attention to him but she treated him equally and always responded to him just as she used to respond to any other common person or thing.

            The Duke then says that she used to thank men. He had no problem with the Duchess thanking everyone but he didn’t like her way to do that. The Duke gave her nine hundred years old family names and prestige. He gave her a status by making her his Duchess that she never had before marrying the Duke but she didn’t even value this gift of his superior to any other minor thing done for her by any common person. There was a relationship gap between the Duke and the Duchess, this is why he never told her anything about her behavior.

            The Duke tells the listener that he admits his Duchess was always nice to him. She treated him well. Then the Duke again asks the question who passed her without receiving the same smile? There was nothing special in her smile for Duke. The Duke admits that he couldn’t bear it more so he gave commands against his own Duchess and as a result, all her smiles stopped. It gives the idea that he gave commands to end her life so that she could no longer be able to smile.

            The Duke then ends his victory and again points towards the beautiful portrait saying that now there she stands and it looks like she is alive. Duke asks listeners to stand up and follow him so that they can go and meet other guests. The Duke then starts talking about the listener’s master “Count”.

            The Duke expects the count to give the dowry of her daughter as much as he demands. It suggests that the Duke is now getting married again to the daughter of the count and he talks to the servant to him about the matter of dowry.

            The Duke ends his discussion and they start going down, while on their way the Duke draws the attention of the servant toward another beautiful piece of art in his gallery. He points towards the statue of the God Neptune who is shown taming his sea horse. The Duke also tells the servant about the artist who made it. He tells him that Claus of Innsbruck made this statue with bronze, especially for him.


            Thus, Robert Browning’s poem My Last Duchess is a haunting portrayal of the destructive nature of power, jealousy, and possessiveness. The Duke’s words and actions reveal, a man consumed with the desire for control and power over others, ultimately leading to the destruction of his wife. Although the final line of the poem,

“Notice Neptune, though Taming a sea horse, thought a rarity
 which clause of Innsbruck cast in Brozne for me!”

 These lines are chilling reminders of the Duke’s cold and calculating nature.

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Varsha Singh

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Partition By W. H. Auden

Partition By W H Auden Analysis | Partition Poem Analysis

Partition By W. H. Auden
Partition By W. H. Auden


          The poem Partition by W. H. Auden deals with the historical event of the partition of the sub-continent into India and Pakistan. Cyril Radcliffe parted the subcontinent on the idea of outdated maps and incorrect census inside a brief interval of seven weeks. It is a political and historical poem. The poem was first published in Auden’s 1969 collection City Without walls.

About Poet

            W. H. Auden was an English poet, playwright, critic, and liberalist of the 20th century. He exerted a major influence on poetry. As a poet, Auden was much influenced by the poetry of Thomas Hardy, William Blake, and G. M. Hopkins. Most of Auden’s poems are based on love, politics, social concern, religion, and personal morals.

The Poet published over 20 collections of poetry during his lifetime and became best known for his writing style and technique in writing. Among his world-famous poems included – The Unknown Citizen, September 1: 1989, Autumn Song, Night Mail, If I Could tell You, and The Shield of Achilles. Awards and honors which Auden got as achievements in his life are – Bollinger Prize, National Book Award, and Pulitzer Prize.

Auden Criticise in the Poem

            The poem Partition is a criticism of the method of Partition and a criticism of Cyril Radcliffe. Partition was a job that was heroic and of an epic dimension but it was done away in such haste, such a short time, with such carelessness that resulted in the catastrophe, the tragedy that is called partition. This act of partition was done in such a way as to split a piece of log. Around 12 million people displace and millions were left homeless. The trains through which migration was done were so full and there was hardly space to breathe in it. Over one million were killed on both sides of the border.

            Cyril Radcliffe arrived in India on July 8, 1947. He has never seen the subcontinent before, never knew the geography, never knew the population of statistics and still, he was given the task of splitting the subcontinent into two parts – India and Pakistan. This was an epic dimension task but it was done in such haste, and carelessness that it resulted in a monumental tragedy.

Themes of The Partition

            The violence and Hubris of British colonialism, Partition are the main themes of the poem. Cyril Radcliffe’s decision resulted in mass migration and widespread violence as countless Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs were forced to seek safety in religious majorities on the other side of new boundaries. With this context, the poem highlights the devastating effects of British Colonialism.

Analysis Of The Poem

            The poem starts with the line that Radcliffe was unbiased when he arrived in India. Radcliffe was unaware of India’s cultural traditions and the communal tension prevalent in India. Radcliff is a person who had never come to India and now he is called for partition. He was a complete stranger. Auden says that partition was among people, who were fanatically different, they had a different diet and different God.

Radcliff was told in London that we have no time left for mutual reconciliation and rational debate and that this line will be not drawn. The decision had already been taken now. You are being called to fulfill the formalities. Two sides can’t come together. The solution lies in their separation only. It means that in Radcliffe’s mind, it was already settled that there is no chance left of stopping this partition.

            Auden mentions that letter which was written by Lord Mountbatten to Radcliffe, in the letter evidence can be seen that Mountbatten doesn’t want to see Radcliff. Even he had given authority to Radcliff to divide and draw the line himself. For the help, they provided accommodation to Sir Radcliffe and two Hindu judges, and two Muslim judges to seek advice were given to him. The final decision rested with Radcliffe.

            Next Auden says that Sir Radcliffe was living in a lonely mansion under police protection. Because the police were scared that orthodox people of any side can attack him or assassinate him. He got down to work and the task was of setting the destiny of millions of people living on both sides just by tracing a single line of land. People had to leave their sources of income school houses except they were out of their land and their state was in the hands of the Radcliffe line.

            Auden criticizes the way partition was done because the maps given to Sir Radcliffe were out of date and even the census was also incorrect due to this he faced many difficulties. But Auden mentions that there was no time to verify and examine maps for the census.

            Radcliffe was setting the faith of millions of people with incorrect defaulted papers.

            In the month of June and July, India’s weather is very hot so Auden talks about the climate of the Indian subcontinent. Due to the hot climate, a bout of dysentery kept him constantly in the toilet. As Redcliffe came from England it was difficult for him to adjust to India’s climate. But he has given a certain time of 5 to 7 weeks in which the frontiers were to be decided and India was to be divided for good or something bad to come. It means that Radcliffe was facing some health issues and in spite of that, he was told to finish that work. 

            In the last stanza Auden depicts that Radcliffe goes back to England and life any other lawyer he forgets the case. He quickly forgets what he has done in India and he moves on in his life. He said in a club and told his friends that he will never visit India because he is afraid that he might be shoot by anyone.


            Thus, Auden used very simple and direct language in the poem- “Partition” which is all about how unjust the partition of India was an unknown person was called an unknown land to draw a line that will decide the fate of millions of people and outdated information and pressure unrooted many people from their housed and decide their faith and death.

Varsha Singh

Partition Poem By W. H. Auden

Unbiased at least he was when he arrived on his mission,
Having never set eyes on the land he was called to partition
Between two peoples fanatically at odds,
With their different diets and incompatible gods.
“Time,” they had briefed him in London, “is short. It’s too late
For mutual reconciliation or rational debate:
The only solution now lies in separation.
The Viceroy thinks, as you will see from his letter,
That the less you are seen in his company the better,
So we’ve arranged to provide you with other accommodation.
We can give you four judges, two Moslem and two Hindu,
To consult with, but the final decision must rest with you.”

Shut up in a lonely mansion, with police night and day
Patrolling the gardens to keep the assassins away,
He got down to work, to the task of settling the fate
Of millions. The maps at his disposal were out of date
And the Census Returns almost certainly incorrect,
But there was no time to check them, no time to inspect
Contested areas. The weather was frightfully hot,
And a bout of dysentery kept him constantly on the trot,
But in seven weeks it was done, the frontiers decided,
A continent for better or worse divided.

The next day he sailed for England, where he could quickly forget
The case, as a good lawyer must. Return he would not,
Afraid, as he told his Club, that he might get shot.

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Suicide In The Trenches By Seigfried Sassoon

Suicide In The Trenches By Siegfried Sassoon | Suicide In The Trenches Analysis

Suicide In The Trenches By Seigfried Sassoon
Suicide In The Trenches By Seigfried Sassoon

Suicide In The Trenches Poem

I knew a simple soldier boy
Who grinned at life in empty joy,
Slept soundly through the lonesome dark,
And whistled early with the lark.

In winter trenches, cowed and glum,
With crumps and lice and lack of rum,
He put a bullet through his brain.
No one spoke of him again.

You smug-faced crowds with kindling eye
Who cheer when soldier lads march by,
Sneak home and pray you’ll never know
The hell where youth and laughter go.


          Suicide in the Trenches is a poem, composed by Siegfried Sassoon, the great war poet during the first world war (1914-1918). Like most of Sassoon’s poetry, Suicide in The Trenches is inspired by the poet’s personal experiences as a soldier. It was first published in 1918, a collection of poems called ‘Counter-Attack and Other Poems’. The poem is an illustration of the futility of war and the folly of the persons who are engaged in war. After being wounded in action, Sassoon wrote a letter of protest to the war department refusing to fight anymore.

“I believe that this War is being deliberately prolonged by those who have the power to end it.”

About Siegfried Sassoon

            Siegfried Sassoon is remembered for his angry and compassionate poems about World War I. He was an English war poet, writer, and soldier. Sasson’s poetry often criticized and expressed anger towards those whom he believed caused the war. He was the friend of Robert Graves and Wilfred Owen. Siegfried Sassoon also was the mentor of Owen. Among his world-famous war poems included – The Troops, Trench Duty, Break of Day, Before the Battle, I Stood with The Dead, Attack, Counter Attack, The Effect, The Death Bed, The Hero, The Last Meeting, and Banishment.

Form and Structure Of the Poem

            Suicide in The Trenches is written in three quatrains, which means the poem has a total of 12 lines. It is written in iambic tetrameter. The rhyme scheme of each quatrain is – AABB.

Themes Of The Poem

            War is the theme of Suicide in The Trenches. The poet focuses on how the horrors of war impact young soldiers, like the man who chooses to kill himself rather than spend more time in the trenches of World War I. He also focuses on how soldiers are celebrated and quickly forgotten by the public.

About The Title

            The title suggests the suicide of someone in a trench because he seeks solace and is desperate and unhappy with the existing condition of life. The poet stresses the fact that the government should at least improve the conditions of the soldier; the people who are most dedicated to serving society and the nation as a whole.

Suicide In The Trenches Poem Analysis

            Suicide in The Trenches begins with the excitement of a young boy who seeks adventure to overcome his meaningless life. The first stanza is about the innocent guy who became a soldier. He led a happy youthful life. He used to enjoy the dark night with a peaceful sleep and would rise with great happiness whistling along with larks. The peaceful life of an innocent boy represents the peace and happiness of every individual. They are free from the sound of bombs, gunfire, or shells. They enjoy the sweet sound of nature. Their day begins with the sound of birds. Such innocent boys are persuaded to join the army to serve their country.

            In the second stanza, the readers could sense the seriousness of the soldier’s thoughts. The soldier is depressed by the explosions of the shells, lack of rum, and insect bites. He is driven to the extreme and shoots himself in the head. After his demise, no one spoke of him again. Soon he is forgotten by Society.

            In the third stanza, the poet describes the nature of the community and their approach toward the soldiers, The Smug-faced crowds clap and applaud the soldiers with fiery eyes marching through the streets. But the soldiers pass they hurry back home and pray to God he will never go through the war (hell) which could destroy the youth and laughter of the innocents.

            Sassoon wants the readers to understand the fact that how important soldiers are for any country. He also explains the selflessness and the love for the country of a Soldier.

            A Soldier is also a normal individual who could have selected any other occupation instead of fighting for his country but he does so just because he loves his motherland more than himself and his family and is selflessly keeping the people of a nation from any external danger. The government should provide the best living conditions possible for the army. He feels that love and harmony should prevail in all nations. Just because of the hatred of a few people, the innocent families of the soldiers suffer.

            The poet is using literature to portray his hatred for war and like conditions. He is very angry with the fact that soldiers are not given what is minimum required, proper living conditions.

            Sassoon also points out the sharp difference between apparent patriotism and people’s hypocrisy. People sing patriotic songs and express their patriotic feeling, but when it comes to serving the nation they take a step backward.


          Thus, Suicide in the Trenches” is actually criticizing the loneliness, health conditions, patriotism, and also the lack of resources that the soldiers faced while they are in the trenches. The poem actually describes the grief of each and every soldier who fights for the country. Though the soldiers carry a deep feeling of patriotism for their country still they are not provided with optimum facilities during the war by the country.

            Now we can say that Suicide in The Trenches is one of the best patriotic poems written by for which can still the significance of patriotism among the readers.

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Varsha Singh

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Prospice By Robert Browning

Prospice By Robert Browning | Robert Browning Prospice Analysis

Prospice By Robert Browning
Prospice By Robert Browning

Prospice Poem

Fear death?—to feel the fog in my throat,
The mist in my face,
When the snows begin, and the blasts denote
I am nearing the place,
The power of the night, the press of the storm,
The post of the foe;
Where he stands, the Arch Fear in a visible form,

Yet the strong man must go:
For the journey is done and the summit attained,
And the barriers fall,
Though a battle’s to fight ere the guerdon be gained,
The reward of it all.
I was ever a fighter, so—one fight more,
The best and the last!

I would hate that death bandaged my eyes and forbore,
And bade me creep past.
No! let me taste the whole of it, fare like my peers
The heroes of old,
Bear the brunt, in a minute pay glad life’s arrears
Of pain, darkness and cold.
For sudden the worst turns the best to the brave,

The black minute’s at end,
And the elements’ rage, the fiend-voices that rave,
Shall dwindle, shall blend,
Shall change, shall become first a peace out of pain,
Then a light, then thy breast,
O thou soul of my soul! I shall clasp thee again,
And with God be the rest!


          Prospice is a famous poem written by Robert Browning. Prospice is a Latin word that means looking ahead. Robert Browning’s father was very unhappy with their marriage. He did not want the poet to marry Elizabeth and Robert Browning married secretly and settled in Italy. In 1861 his wife died. He loved his wife very much. After her death, he started feeling very sad. But he hoped that after his death he would meet his wife again. Prospice is based on this. It was written in 1861 and first published in Dramatic Personae 1864.

About Robert Browning

                       Robert browning is a prolific Victorian-era playwright. He is widely recognized as the master of Dramatic monologue. A dramatic monologue is a dialogue by one character in which he expresses his mind without being interfered with by any other character. It means a dialogue with self. Browning’s monologues present a different aspect of love and its intensity. He was much inspired by Percy Bysshe Shelly.

He was fluent in five languages at the age of fourteen. His first major work Pauline is published in 1833. When he reads some poem by Elizabeth Barret, he falls in love with her without seeing her. In 1846 he married Elizabeth. Among his world-famous work included- Man and Women, Dramatic Persone, The Ring and The Book,  and Asolando: Fancies and Facts.

The theme of the poem

        The main theme of the Prospice is death. The poet is not in the least afraid of death. He would like to experience all the pain and suffering of death. However, it also deals with the themes of courage and optimistic the face of death.

About the title

       The title of the poem is Prospice which means to look forward. It is an apt title for the poem. In the poem, the poet is confident that he will conquer death.

 Form and Structure of the poem

                              Prospice is a 28 lines poem divided into seven four-line stanzas or quatrains. The first and third lines are long whereas the second and fourth lines are short. Every four lines have a rhyme scheme of ABAB.

Prospice Poem Analysis

 In this poem, the poet looks forward to meeting his loving wife after death. Because this poem is composed after the death of his wife. He composes this poem in memory of his beloved wife. Poet thinks that if he dies, he will meet his wife. His death will be a great opportunity for him to meet his dear wife. Thus the poet is very much optimistic in his thought even though of death.

According to him, death is a gateway to heaven where he can meet his dear wife. In this poem, the poet compares his experience of meeting death with the experience of climbing up a high mountain. Just as a person who climbs a high mountain has to face, fog, mist, snow, and storms during his ascent that a dying man also has to face pains like physical and mental.

According to the poet when a person comes to meet death, he feels fog and mist in his throat. He feels difficulty in breathing. These are the symptoms of a dying man. He feels cold all over his body and many storms arise inside. Thus the poet says that he is never afraid of death. The poet declares that he knows that death is the greatest fear for all human beings but I do not fear death. I am a strong person. So I will face death with courage. The poet advises all that strong persons should not fear death and face it with courage.

He further says that he sees death in a visible form standing before him. But he will not afraid of death. This is the liveliest description of a dying man in this poem. This poem is also very popular for its study of human behaviors at the time of death.  Now the poet imagines that the trip of his life is going to end. He has finished all his duties in life. Now he has no more work to finish. So he has no will to live.

The poet further says that all the problems and hurdles of his life have ended. There are no obstacles standing in his way. But the poet does not want to die like a coward. He wants to fight like a fighter.  The poet says that he always has been a fighter. So now he also wants one fight more with death. It will be the last fight in his life. Meeting his wife after death definitely will be a great gift for him. So he does not afraid of death.

The poet believes that he would certainly meet with his wife in another world.  Now poet expresses his firm resolution to fight death in order to end all the sufferings of his personal life.

 The poet further says that death does not show any mercy to him. Death is so strong thing of fear for human beings but he is not afraid of her. He would not like to die in a condition of coma or insensibility like other persons. He wants to face death in full awareness so that he can taste all the pain and misery that death brings with it.  In other words, the poet wants to tolerate any type of suffering and pain while dying. 

Now the poet declares that he is a bold man. He need not fear death. Death will open the gate of heaven. And It will be a great chance to meet his wife after death. Therefore everything happens with a special cause. And the poet further thinks that all his pains and sufferings of life will end with death.

Thus, the poet is very optimistic about his attitude. He says that It is a thing of only a few minutes but after It, he will get peace and joy and be reunited with his beloved who is waiting for him in heaven. 


     Thus in Prospice, Robert Browning talks about facing death without fear because his soulmates await him on the other side. It has been regarded as one of the most inspiring poems on the subject of death. It inspires all human beings in the world to be optimistic in every situation of their life.

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Varsha Singh

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Love Song Of J Alfred Prufrock

The Love Song Of J Alfred Prufrock | Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock Summary

Love Song Of J Alfred Prufrock
Love Song Of J Alfred Prufrock


          The Love Song Of J. Alfred Prufrock was T. S. Eliot’s first important publication and it has often been called the first masterpiece of Modernism in English Literature. Through this poem, Eliot presents the despair and passivity of a middle-aged man, Alfred J Prufrock. The poem was most probably written between 1910 and 1911.

T. S. Eliot originally entitled this poem Prufrock Among the Women. He changed the title to The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock before publishing the poem in a poetry magazine in 1915 (Ezra Pound). The pome is typically not of the 20th century but of all ages. It deals with the emotional frustration and despair, the hollowness of human beings living at any period in history. This poem is written in the form of a “Dramatic Monologue”.

About T. S. Eliot (As A Poet)

            Thoman Streams Eliot; most commonly known as T. S. Eliot, is one of the significant poets of the 20th century. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948 for his contribution to modern poetry. When T. S. Eliot died, Robert Giroux wrote,

“The World become a lesser place.”

            In 1911 he wrote his first and most acclaimed poem The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. The Waste Land, Ash Wednesday, Four Quarters, The Journey of the Magi, The Hollow Men, Morning at Widow, and The Hippopotamus are some of his good poems. He has also written seven plays.

The theme of the poem

          Social Anxiety, Lack of Spirituality, Loneliness, Love, Criticism Of the Modern age. Isolation and Mental instability is the theme of the Poem The Love Song by J. Alfred Prufrock.

The setting of the Poem

          The Setting of this poem is a big, dirty modern city. Here the poet does not mention any particular name of the city but it seems representative of other great cities of modern western civilization.

About The Title

          Originally the poem was entitled “Prufrock Among the Women” but later before his publication in poetry magazine, the title was changed to The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. The title of the poem indicates a romantic love situation, it is used ironically by the poet. The name Prufrock has been derived from the name of a furniture dealer in St. Louis.

structure and Form

            This is a poem of about 132 lines and an epigraph of 6 lines taken from the Dante Divine Comedy. This love song by J. Alfred Prufrock by T. S. Eliot is primarily written in free verse. This means that most lives do not follow a specific rhyme scheme or metrical pattern.

Love Song Poem Analysis

            In the poem, Eliot shows the sordid and aimless modern life. He shows the inner conflict duality, disintegration, and irresolution of the modern man. Eliot seems to say that modern life has been devoid of purpose and there is no spiritual direction. Juxtaposes the title it is an anti–romantic poem. It records Prufrock’s recoil from love rather than his engagement in love.

Prufrock is a middle-aged dandy who has seen much of the city life with its meaningless socializing and decadent values. He wants to make love with a Lady but he does not have the mental courage to disclose it. He is indecisive and passive, unable to take any initiative. His personal failure, together with his experience with life and society, makes him totally frustrated. He wants to get relief from such a situation by taking a walk-in city.

            Prufrock is not going to the lap of nature to breathe fresh air. Rather, his Journey would be in a half-deserted street on a foggy evening. The street is a half-deserted street because people leave the street in the evening and go to their homes. Again the streets are surrounded by cheap hotels and dirty restaurants. People spend their nights there but do not get proper rest and sleep.

The streets run in a winding course leading people to no destination. These winding streets are compared with a tedious argument. These lines are reflective of the protagonist’s state of mind. He is in a restless situation and he feels lonely and isolated. Yet he has no escape rotate to get rid of his isolation and boredom. Prufrock suffers from a lack of will and hesitation. He takes a decision that is immediately postponed and revised. Various thoughts crisscross his mind like the winding streets.

            Prufrock is timid and nervous lacking boldness. He is so paralyzed by his will that he himself does not dare to utter the Overwhelming Question of proposing to a Lady. He hesitates to offer his heart’s desire to the lady because he thinks that whatever he says to the lady will be answered by,

That is not I meant at all/ That is not it at all.”

            Prufrock is a middle-aged dandy with some Physical limitations. He afraid that

With a bold spot in the middle of my hair.”

            He is conscious that he is being aged as he says,

“I grow old. ….. I grow old……

            All through the poem Prufrock remains in his room. He is so infirm in will that she is ready for a hundred indecision, and for a hundred visions and revisions. It seems that while remaining in his room, he is content to imagine himself going through the streets. He wears clothes of the latest fashion to hide his age and to cover his boldness, yet he cannot gather the courage to offer his love.

            Prufrock’s timidity results from his experience with the society in which he lives. He is already known the hollowness and meaninglessness of his own life. He has also known the frivolity and artificiality of the women, as he says,

For I have known them all already,
 known them all…”

            Although he feels an attraction to the lady, he is aware of their worthlessness. In this sense too, the poem is no praising song of love.


          Thus, the title of The Love Song Of J. Alfred Prufrock neatly undermines the romantic association of Love Song with the ridiculous name Prufrock. The poem records the love wish of a man with neither the physical, vigor nor mental courage to propose love. Instead of depicting o the joy, bliss, and hope of Love, the poem reveals the helplessness and pathos of the protagonist. 

            Eliot very effectively portrays the pollution and shabbiness that are associated with modern city life. People are in decayed and sordid surroundings and leading hopeless life. The poet aptly reveals the boredom, loneliness, and frustration of modern society. Here the condition of Prufrock is symbolic of the condition of modern urbanized civilization. Thus, the title of the poem seems quite justified.

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