In what ways might we consider 'The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock' by T.S. Eliot a Modernist poem?


We might first consider the form of the poem. Does there appear to be any strict metre or rhyme scheme? No, there does not. We can however see that Eliot is toying with rhyme and metre in places, in ways that his Edwardian predecessors tended not to. The third line of the poem is perhaps one of the most famous lines of poetry in the twentieth century. The evening is described as being 'spread out against the sky/ Like a patient etherised upon a table'. What rhetorical device is being used here? A simile, because it is 'like', as opposed to a metaphor, where something becomes something it is not. Eliot's comparison of the night to a patient etherised - or aneaesthatized - upon a table immediately brings in a modern, scientific sensibility, and destabilizes any preconceived expectations of what a 'Love Song' is supposed to be like.

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