An Intertextual Analysis of Dante and Eliot
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This paper gives an intertextual analysis of T.S. Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" and Dante's "Divine Comedy", showing how Dante's theme of damnation is echoed in Prufrock's despair. The paper examines how "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" is a poem of despair about the emptiness of modern day interaction, and then demonstrates how it parallels Dante's "Inferno" with its Christian connection. The paper discusses how Prufrock is essentially a modern-day lost soul and is thus one of the damned from Dante's "Inferno".
From the Paper:""Prufrock does not know how to presume to begin to speak, both because he knows 'all already'--this is the burden of his lament--and because he is already known, formulated," says Mutlu Konuk Blasing. What Prufrock "knows" is that there is no hope for the modern world--it has been abolished--and, thus, he is an empty shell of a man, on the cusp of old world religion and art, unable to pry open the doors of medieval faith, which offered salvation through Christ--antidote to the kind of gloom which Prufrock represents.
"The Christian connection cannot be ignored, as Christ is the center of Dante's Divine Comedy and the core of Dante's Roman Catholic belief system. The epigram from Dante is highly significant for two reasons: 1) it roots the poem in medieval Christian ecclesiology, and 2) it introduces the theme of despair (the epigram consists of the words of a soul who speaks only because he knows no one will ever hear): "If I thought that my reply would be to one who would ever return to the world, this flame would stay without further movement; but since none has ever returned alive from this depth, if what I hear is true, I answer you without fear of infamy" (Inferno 27.61-66)."
Sample of Sources Used:
- Blasing, Mutlu Konuk. American Poetry: The Rhetoric of Its Forms. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1987. Print.
- Dante. The Divine Comedy. [Trans. By John Ciardi]. New York, NY: New American Library, 2003. Print.
- Eliot, T. S. "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock." The Norton Anthology of American Literature, 5th Ed. [Ed. By Nina Baym]. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company, 1998. Print.
- Elliot, John Huxtable. Spain, Europe and the Wider World: 1500-1800. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009. Print.
Cite this Analytical Essay:
An Intertextual Analysis of Dante and Eliot (2013, May 30) Retrieved May 11, 2021, from https://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/an-intertextual-analysis-of-dante-and-eliot-153427/
"An Intertextual Analysis of Dante and Eliot" 30 May 2013. Web. 11 May. 2021. <https://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/an-intertextual-analysis-of-dante-and-eliot-153427/>