T. S. Eliot’s Prufrock: An Archetypal Mock-Modern Tragic Hero

Rashed Daghamin


Literature is a mirror of society and life, and T.S. Eliot is a keen painter who dexterously sketches the true picture of the sterile modern world. Eliot outlines and delineates the anxiety, decline, ambiguity, fragmentation, paralysis and disorder of his age, the early decades of the 20th century, through a meticulous, keen and realistic delineation of Prufrock. Eliot portrays Prufrock’s tragic and farcical story; the story of frustration, failure, debasement, paralysis, emasculation, uncertainty, conscious-inertia, self-effacement, and spiritual infertility. Eliot also, through Prufrock, delineates the utter emptiness of modern man and the sterility and hollowness of the western civilization. Prufrock speaks, suffers, and agonizes on behalf of the twentieth century man. His agonies are generalized, a theme that Eliot tends to present and emphasize. The poem exemplifies all presumable techniques and themes of Modernism, such as fragmentation, allusion, juxtaposition, uncertainty, ambiguity, inertia, hyperconsciousness, imagery, symbolism, and condemnation of the sterility of the modern world. This research paper critically examines the pathetic and tragic life, concerns, deterioration and disintegration of Prufrock. The paper is a deep psychological analysis of the mind and psyche of a neurite, coward, psychosexually paralyzed hero who is prone to inferiority complex, hyperconsciousness, self-effacement, dehumanization, and paralysis. The state of mental, psychological and physical paralysis evidently shapes Prufrock’s fragmented and sophisticated thoughts and actions. Through a meticulous and objective analysis, this paper critically examines the poets’ philosophical dialectic, and it demonstrates that Prufrock is an archetypal, mock-modern tragic hero.


Prufrock; Eliot; Modernism; Mock-tragic hero; Paralysis; Debasement; Inertia; Anxiety

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3968/11111


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