[log in to unmask] wrote:
> One can debate the emphasis or degree of ambiguity intended, but the very thing that makes the "Streets" "like" the "tedious argument/Of insidious intent", as I read it, is the fact that they "lead you to an overwhelming question..." Since the protagonist is walking the streets, and analogizing them to the tedious argument, it seems clear to me that the streets will lead him to the specific overwhelming question he has metioned. While he's walking, however, he may also be conducting an argument that has the same effect.
Next question, then, is, "Why is the argument tedious?" And why would it
be a tedious argument that is perceived to have an insidious intent?
If the streets are leading to a question (and I agree that this is the
what the syntax demands), then it must be that the physical spot they
lead to 'contains' a questioner, who will ask the question which will
And if, as I have always assumed, Prufrock is speaking to himself, and
the "us" of "let us go" is Prufrock and himself, then he is saying to
himself, don't try to guess what the question will be -- let's just get
on with it.
Or is he, rather, gathering up the nerve to pose the question himself to
someone else? In that case it would be a sexual proposition of some
sort, which (a) he fears to make and (b) he expects to be answered
negatively. He knows he won't dare, and he won't dare because he thinks
he knows the answer will be no, and he has not the courage to face such
a no. He can't turn the blame on to the lady, as the speaker of
Marvell's poem can and does.
> Tom K