“The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” is one of T. S. Eliot’s most known and debated poem, which marked the start of his career as one of the twentieth century's most influential poets. To discuss some of the modernist features in T. S. Eliot, it is important to briefly define these features in the movement itself. The poetry in the modernist movement is mainly characterized by an emphasis on the alienation of the individual from the broader community in which he or she lives.
In T.S.Eliot's “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”, the first poem of the north-American modernist movement, the main “modern” characteristics that can be found are: the use of images, alienation, stream of consciousness and allusions. Among these features, allusions, also known as intertextuality, caused some accusations on Eliot of plagiarism. Because of these interweaving of quotations, he has also been condemned as showing a lack of originality. About these accusations, Eliot once wrote: "Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different." He also claims that his allusions add richness through unexpected juxtapositions.
In the analyzed poem, for example, the epigraph is from Dante’s Divine Comedy, The Inferno, so it is an allusion to this piece. This epigraph shows that Eliot’s character is “stuck”, alienated, in hell just like Dante’s character, but in a different kind of hell, the hell of the cities, the modern world, so as he is trapped in hell and no one ever returned from that alive he show his feelings without fear of being scorn by others.
In Eliot’s poem we can notice a different length of phrases and the meter is also different from other styles of poetry, these are characteristics of modern poetry. So in “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” there are lines that contain only 3 words and others with 7 or more, that length of phrase interferes with the meter of the...