Docstoc

Eliots Views of Sexuality as Revealed in the Behavior

Document Sample
Eliots Views of Sexuality as Revealed in the Behavior Powered By Docstoc
					Eliot's Views of Sexuality as Revealed in the Behavior of Prufrock and
Sweeney


        "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" tells the story of a
single
character, a timid, middle-aged man. Prufrock is talking or thinking
to himself.
 The epigraph, a dramatic speech taken from Dante's "Inferno," provides
a key to
Prufrock's nature. Like Dante's character Prufrock is in "hell," in
this case
a hell of his own feelings.
        He is both the "you and I" of line one, pacing the city's grimy
streets
on his lonely walk. He observes the foggy evening settling down on
him.
Growing more and more hesitant he postpones the moment of his decision
by
telling himself "And indeed there will be time."
        Prufrock is aware of his monotonous routines and is frustrated,
"I have
measured out my life with coffee spoons":. He contemplates the aimless
pattern
of his divided and solitary self. He is a lover, yet he is unable to
declare
his love. Should a middle-aged man even think of making a proposal of
love? "Do
I dare/Disturb the universe?" he asks.
        Prufrock knows the women in the saloons "known them all" and he
presumes
how they classify him and he feels he deserves the classification,
because he
has put on a face other than his own. "To prepare a face to meet the
faces that
you meet." He has always done what he was socially supposed to do,
instead of
yielding to his own natural feelings. He wrestles with his desires to
change
his world and with his fear of their rejection. He imagines how
foolish he
would feel if he were to make his proposal only to discover that the
woman had
never thought of him as a possible lover; he imagines her brisk, cruel
response;
"That is not what I meant, at all."
        He imagines that she will want his head on a platter and they
did with
the prophet John the Baptist. He also fears the ridicule and snickers
of other
men when she rejects him.
        Prufrock imagines "And would it have been worth it, after all,"
and if
she did not reject him it would bring him back to life and he could say
"I am
Lazarus, come from the dead."
        Prufrock decides that he lacks the will to make his declaration.
"I am
not Prince Hamlet," he says; he will not, like Shakespeare's character,
attempt
to shake off his doubts and "force the moment to crisis." He feels
more like an
aging Fool. He is able only to dream of romance. He is depressed "I
grow old"
and will have to "wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled" into cuffs.
        He will "walk upon the beach," though he probably will not
venture into
the water. He has had a romantic vision of mermaids singing an
enchanting song,
but assumes that they will not sing to him. Prufrock is paralyzed,
unable to
act upon his impulses and desires. He will continue to live in "the
chambers of
the sea," his world of romantic daydreams, until he is awakened by the
"human
voices" of real life in which he "drowns."
        The "love song" of Mr. Prufrock displays several levels of
irony, the
most important of which grows out of the vain, weak man's insights into
his
sterile life and his lack of will to change that life. The poem brings
out
images of enervation and paralysis, such as the evening described as
"etherized," immobile. No one will ever hear his love song, except
himself.
        "Sweeney Among the Nightingales" tells a story of a man
motivated by
lust and hunger. Eliot gives us an insight into Sweeney's true nature
by giving
him the first name of "Apeneck." Sweeney is more like a primitive man
who has
no morals for when he dies he "guards the horned gate," the gates of
hell.
        Eliot is comparing the death of a king, Agamemnon, to the death
of a bum,
Sweeney.
         Agamemnon is the leader of the Greeks besieging Troy. Upon
returning
home he was murdered by his wife, Clytemnestra. Sweeney is murdered by
Rachel
nee Rabinovitch, who I believe was engaged to Sweeney, a marriage that
was
arranged by her family.
        Rachel, "She and the lady in the cape/ Are suspect, thought to
be in
league"; , plotted or payed the lady in the Spanish cape to help her.
        The lady in the cape meets Sweeney at a tavern and undertakes to
get him
drunk in order to deceive him. His eyes "Are veiled, and hushed the
shrunken
seas," and he begins to trust the lady in the cape. "The person in the
Spanish
cape/Tries to sit on Sweeney's knees," she then tries to seduce Sweeney
and is
successful. "The silent man in mocha brown" watches the seduction and
"gapes."
        "The silent vertebrate in brown" is in reality Rachel in
disguise.
Surely, Sweeney would not fall to the charms of the lady in the cape if
he knew
Rachel was watching. Rachel realizes what her life would be like as
Sweeney's
wife and is appalled. She then poison's the fruit that the waiter has
brought
in.
        The poison is starting to work for Sweeney becomes sleepy.
"Therefore
the man with heavy eyes/ Declines the gambit, shows fatigue." He
decides not to
gamble or play any games. "Leaves the room and reappears/Outside the
window,
leaning in" Sweeney leans in the window and dies. "Circumscribe a
golden grin,"
Sweeney dies with a grin of his face that reveal a mouth full of gold
capped
teeth.
        Eliot becomes philosophical for the nightingales continue to
sing for a
bum and king, alike. "The nightingales are singing near/The Convent of
the
Sacred Heart," the exquisite music of the nightingales sounded when the
mortal
blow was struck in Ancient Greece; and they sing while Sweeney is under
the eye
of the man in mocha brown.
        "And let their liquid siftings fall/ To stain the stiff
dishonored
shroud.", The nightingales and nature are indifferent to a man's
station in life.
 We are born into this world as equals and will leave it the same way
and the
nightingales give no honor to anyone.
        "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" and "Sweeney Among the
Nightingales" were written by T. S. Eliot in the early 20th century.
The poems
reveal that the author feels that he is inferior to women. He does not
deserve
the love of a maiden, but is only suitable for a prostitute. The lines
where he
refers to the prophet John the Baptist and to Lazarus tells me that he
has a
deep interest in religion and Christianity. Religion does dictate
strong views
of sex and marriage, whereas a man must suppress all feelings of lust
and desire,
unless it is directed toward his own wife.