Prufy can reveal himself to himself because he
one else can see inside himself.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Sunday, February 07, 2010 9:16
Subject: Re: Prufrock question (Eliot
In the epigraph, Montfeltro would reveal his sin of fraud to Dante
because he thinks Dante belongs with him to hell -- that
there would be no fear of infamy involved in sharing his state
of sinfulness with him.
In the monologue, like Dante, Prufrock is a visitor to this den of
lust/sin. The women here can be likened to Montefeltro -- they share
with Montefeltro his sin of fraudulence, of cleverly concealing their
state of sinfulness.
It struck me as well -- the relevance of the circle of
fraud in hell -- but only in respect of the women in 'Prufrock'.
Prufrock, like Lazarus or John the Baptist, would like to
(though he finds himself lacking in courage) tell them about
their state of sinfulness (in a life of lust rather than love),
afraid that they will deny the truth saying, this is not it at
all etc. He does not know if they are in a state of
ignorance (sleep) or they affect ignorance. Fraud (concealment
& cleverness) is thus evident in the women who surround
I find no evidence that the fraud (concealment/cleverness)
obtains in respect of Prufrock
-- of course, he is too keenly aware of his frailties and
his alienation from the state of beatitude he envisions in the
I am now wondering about the function of the
epigraph. I have long assumed I had figured out a reason
for it in the need to somehow articulate the meaning of being
in Hell (note also the two Lazarus stories, making three
characters who died and could have revealed the afterworld but
could not or did not). Eliot's epigraphs do not simply
chunk another story down in a poem whole: they may evoke
mood or topic or emotion rather than story. But I am
wondering now if the issue of treachery or fraud
is relevant also. I had not before focussed on
the fact that Guido is in that circle or that he wants both to
conceal and reveal his own sin--and cleverness.
Does the choice of the circle of fraud reveal or evoke
something about Prufrock?