Hi Dunja, I agree with every bit of your observation. What I wrote was only one aspect of Prufrock's personality -- only a half truth -- and a half truth is as bad as a lie, unless other aspects of the truth are also brought into light. I'll briefly outline another aspect of him which apparently contradicts the earlier picture of him but is in fact only complementary. Prufrock is a lover too (I must retract my remark that his love-song is not about human love). Actually he is in search of a passionate, fulfilling relationship of love. And he visits this place hoping to come by his love -- to fulfil his "lust" for love, so to say. I appreciate your insightful and very valid observation that the whole poem is throbbing with passion, with life, and to construe any denial of life and love would be a falsification of it. The failure of Prufrock's self-denying exercises in spirituality only convince him that it's futile, even foolish, to attempt to "disturb the universe", to fly in the face of the wind, as in 'Gerontion'. But Prufrock has apprehensions on so many counts -- apprehensions of his physical inadequacies, of physical and moral courage to "force the moment to its crisis". (It applies both ways -- in both contexts.) All the same, my grateful thanks for your compassionate response. It's so very rare to come by. Most of the time one doesn't get an encouraging chance to express one's opinion. The "evil" is nipped in the bud, so to say. Thank you heartily, again, for your kind participation in this discussion. Regards. ~ CR Dunja Seselja <[log in to unmask]> wrote: Your interpretation sounds very very interesting. But I must say I can't accept it completely. I can't accept that Prufrock is striking against the lust, against the life in this sense; the whole poem is so full of passion, and to give Prufrock a role of a "moral teacher" or of the "voice of conscience" would do the unjust to the poem. The lines that make me say this, are first those where he says "That is not what I meant at all. That is not it, at all." Now, I don't think this negation is simply something what Prufrock expects as a potential answer to his "disturbing of the universe"; it is also what he himself agrees with - that all these possible "warnings" cannot simply squeeze the universe into a ball, as that is not it at all. I think lust is one of those things belonging to "this world", the world of everyday life, and it falls under the things Prufrock would like not to criticize, but to subject to the burden of time. When he says that there will be time to wonder "Do I dare?", he tells us two things: 1) we all the time stand in front of the point which, if crossed, we start daring (that's why the second reflective questions "and, 'Do I dare?'" - dare to act against this everyday life, to put questions, to question the time itself and the entire meaning of life; 2) the question of daring shows that Prufrock isn't afraid of lust (to dare is, in a way, a lustful action, it's a way of stepping over the borders of what is simply given) Prufrock knows there's something wrong with this usual, unreflected living, but he is, on the other hand, uncertain if questioning it would make any sense, if it would bring anything or just miss the point. He knows in the end he wouldn't be satisfied ("And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,And in short, I was afraid." - afraid of not knowing the sense of everything, of life, of love, of lust, of time, of finiteness, of death). I wouldn't say that motives of Lazarus and John the Baptist are directly referring to lust and sin (but thanks a lot for explaining them!); lust is here more a symbol for something mortal, human, which cannot be understood by a simple reflection, cause "this is not it at all". As for the mermaids, maybe here Peter is right in calling upon Ulysses: Prufrock maybe wants to say that he's too far in his thoughts in order to be able to hear the song of enchantment; he can see them and hear them, but he remains outside of their game. He has been among them, has played the games of love and passion, until human voices - our thoughts, reflections (Peter!) - wake him and he drowns. > > I must leave it here, Dunja, for now! > A classroom lecture can go on for hours -- > one has only to wag one's tongue. > But typing is a laborious job. > Your pardon, madam. Thank you, CR, very much for this! Although I disagree at some points with you, your post helped me see some symbols which I haven't seen before. And as I already once said, I don't think it is possible to put such a poem in the frame of only one interpretation. But it is wonderful to discuss its possible meanings! Dunja --------------------------------- Blab-away for as little as 1¢/min. Make PC-to-Phone Calls using Yahoo! Messenger with Voice.