The love song by J. Alfred Prufrock is a famous poem written in 1910. It examines the tortured psyche of a classical man who is educated, neurotic, eloquent, and emotionally stilted. It describes a lonely man undergoing psychological torture because of loneliness. The poem conveys the thoughts of a sexually deprived mid-aged man. Prufrock addresses a potential lover with whom he wishes to force a crisis moment and consummate their relationship, but he is so afraid to do so. Nevertheless, he knows too much of life to dare try to approach a woman. In his poem, he pleads with the woman to go and have a one-night stand in one of the cheap hotels. In silence, he hears the people’s comments about his inadequacies. He reproaches himself for conceited emotional interaction .
He comforts himself and visualizes a life where everything he dreams of will materialize. When he says that he should have been a pair of tattered claws scuttling across the floors of silent seas; this shows his deep longing to be in a relationship. He wishes that he had the strength to force the moments and wonders on what extra thing he should do. He has offered cakes, ice, and tea. He has wept, fasted, and prayed and now he is beginning to see his head balding. He is too lonely and yet time does not wait for him. He wishes that he were a prophet, and then he would know the future. He is too afraid that he will die before he has loved .
Prufrock may be expressing deep philosophical disillusionment with the society where he is facing rejection. This is evident from the lines where he laments that the mermaids will not sing for him. He is old and he does not have much time, he wishes that he were immortal or to have his youthful years renewed when he asks if anyone can return to life.
The poem is both a self-indictment of Prufrock life and a condemnation of the superficial life of the social class, era, and culture. It symbolizes the life of a successful modern man who faces rejection and loneliness of uninspiring modern moments.