The poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T. S. Eliot and “The Road not Taken” by Robert Frost can be compared by analyzing the roles and traits portrayed by main characters. The author of the love song uses the main character, Alfred Prufrock, to pose a question to the readers concerning his fearful and indecisiveness state. Taking a look at the main character in the poem “The Road not Taken”, readers are introduced to a man who is traveling. While on his journey, he comes across a fork along the road he is traveling on. After coming to a fork, the main character is torn on choosing the appropriate road to travel on. The state of dilemma witnessed in the main character concerning the road to follow is as a result of previous decisions made that ended up with an unhappy outcome. The two poems have got a certain similarity in terms of the main characters’ traits. Both the characters are faced with challenging situations requiring each of them to take decisive steps by making decisions that will have effects on life in the future.
Alfred Prufrock is faced with a state of a dilemma concerning life choices that he should make. He is undecided about whether to continue living his dull and uncomfortable life or to get out of being indecisive as well as fearful (Eliot). Close analysis of the poem reveals that Alfred is sincerely not happy with the past decisions he has made in life. He seems to be experiencing constant internal conflict throughout the poem. For instance, at the beginning of the poem, Alfred invites readers to accompany him on a journey at night. However, the description of the streets does not paint a pleasant picture. “Half deserted streets” represent unpleasant as well as the internal conflict being experienced by Alfred.
Alfred has also been represented as someone who has a problem in decision making. He makes visions and revisions but later turns to descend the stairs. Although he comes into contact with women, he cannot go ahead and approach them due to the fear of being rejected. He claims to have known them all and that they are the same. Likewise, the main character in the poem “The Road not Taken” is faced with a dilemma of making decisions about life in the future (Frost). While on his journey, the man comes across a fork that seems to represent the direction he has to take concerning his future life. After thinking very hard, he decides to take the trail less traveled believing that it will have better rewards at the end as compared to the other road.
Analysis of the two characters confirms the notion that they are both faced with challenging situations that require them to decide on their future. Alfred Prufrock is reluctant in making decisions about his life due to fear of failure and rejection. Likewise, the narrator in “The Road not Taken” is faced with a challenging situation while on his journey. He has to choose and follows one road hoping that it will be more rewarding at the end. Although he is scared about failure, he goes ahead to make a choice hoping that it will bring satisfaction at the end.
Examining the first six lines of each poem reveals the richness in the use of rhyme, consonance, assonance, and meter. However, there is no use of alliteration in the poems. Considering the poem “The Road Not Taken”, the author used rhyme in the first six lines like “…wood … stood” showing his despair in choosing the road to travel on. Similarly in “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”, there is the use of …I … the sky which reveals the fearful state of the main character. Assonance has also been used to add rhythm to the poem. For example, there is the use of “…looked … could…” in the love, a song to show the main character’ desperation and worries. Likewise, the poem “The road not taken uses words like “… like… etherized…” to compare the state of the main character with a patient. Consonance has also been used in the two poems, for instance, there is the use of “…when the…” in the love song to introduce the evening state. In general, the poetic devices have been used to create rhythm necessary for stimulating the readers’ interest in the poem and as a special way of introducing the theme of choice.
Eliot, Thomas Stearns. The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. Bartleby, Bartleby. com, 2011.
Frost, Robert. The Road Not Taken: A Selection of Robert Frosts Poems. Macmillan, 2002.