Human suffering can be characterized by different aspects depending on its causes. In this case, poetry can be utilized in the depiction of human suffering. Dover Beach is a poem that tries to answer questions on the conflict ideas that exist between faith in religious context and the scientific Darwinism context. In this poem the speaker tries to bring out the bleakness of a world that is void of faith. Conversely, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock is a poem based on the conflicting ideals of a modern man who is neurotic, overeducated, emotionally stilted and eloquent. It depicts the fear being exhibited by a sexually starved man who cannot express his feelings to his lover. Although both poems are based on human suffering they exhibit different aspects that bring out the uniqueness of each poem.
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock is a poem whose setting is England. Similarly, the setting of Dover Beach encompasses the England’s coastline. Consequently, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock can be described as a dramatic monologue which was characteristic of the poetry produced in the 19th century. In the same way, Dover Beach is a dramatic monologue that was produced in the 19th century. This is a clear indication that the different feelings exhibited by the narrators are brought into the focus of the reader through a mono narration which means that the narrator narrates all about his feeling without the contributions of his listeners. Imagery is utilized to bring out the similarities between the two poems. In the first stanza of The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock imagery is brought out by, “Like a patient etherized upon a table.” Which depicts the lifelessness of the evening because a patient that is etherized is unconscious thus lifeless.
Likewise, Imagery is brought out in the first stanza of Dover Beach by the line that says, “The sea is calm to-night.” this is an indication of the calmness of the narrators feelings towards religion which is negated later in the poem as religious conflicting ideas are brought out by the narrator later in the poem. Different figures of speech are utilized to bring out the deeper meaning of the poems. The use of similes is seen in both poems through the utilization of the word like. In The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock the simile is brought out by the lines that asserts, “When the evening is spread out against the sky. Like a patient etherized upon a table.” The evening is likened to a patient in this case. Likewise, in Dover Beach it is brought out by, “lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.” The sea is likened to the folds of a girdle.
In contrast, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock was published in the 20th century, 1915 to be precise while on the other hand Dover Beach was published in the 19th century, 1867 to be precise. Both poems are written by different authors. The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock was written by T. S. Eliot who felt much disoriented by the wealth that his father had gained in the US after his migration from England. For this reason he moved back to England as a form of maintaining his roots. Dover Beach on the other hand was written by Matthew Arnold who had lost his religious faith prior to the writing of the poem. The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock as compared to Dover Beach is a long poem as it contains 130 lines while conversely Dover Beach contains 37 lines which make it a short poem.
Both poems present the point of view of the narrator in the third person. The narrator in Dover Beach brings out the contrast between the two poems where he shifts from the third person to the second person as in line 29 where he says, “Ah, love, let us be true.” He then precedes this with the first person’s point of view in which he incorporates the observer and the listener in his point of view. This can be observed in line 24 where he asserts, “But now I only hear.” The narrator of The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock on the other hand, maintains the use of the third person’s point of view throughout the poem.
The narrator or speaker in The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock is a middle aged man who is very insecure. On the contrary, the speaker in Dover Beach is a newly wed man who is talking to his bride on their honey moon in Dover beach. Dover Beach encompasses two characters but in contrast, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock encompasses four characters. The two characters in Dover Beach include a man and his lovely bride which can also translate to any man or woman in the world or the author and his wife as they honeymooned on Dover beach after their 1851 wedding. Nevertheless, the four characters in The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock includes J. Alfred Prufrock who is the narrator, The Listener who was Prufrock unidentified companion, The Women found at the social gathering and lastly The Lonely Men in Shirtsleeves who were seen smoking pipes as their leaned on their windows.
Contrary to the unidentified listener in The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, the listener in Dover Beach can be identified as the wife of the poet or any other woman in the world who was being referred to in the poem by the narrator who was a newly married man. Contrary to The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, that encompasses three main themes, Dover Beach contains one major theme. On one hand, the theme in Dover Beach is based on the way the people’s faith in God and religion had been shaken by the challenges of the soundness of the moral principles as well as the venerable theological beliefs. On the other hand, the themes in Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock encompass the dented consciousness of humanity, the changing gender roles and the power of the legendary history. Dented consciousness of humanity is depicted by the narrator’s indecisiveness between making radical change and his ability to accomplish this feat.
Changing gender roles is asserted by the increasing roles of women depicted i9n the poem where the women could meet in social gatherings to discuss about artists such as Michelangelo which shows that they were allowed to attain education unlike in the Victorian era.
Motif is employed in bringing out the similarities between the two poems. Fragmentation is a motif that is found in The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock and Dover Beach in which both poets incorporates formal styles, tones and different images in one poetic art to bring out the different aspects of the era in which the poems were written. The sea is used as a particular image in both poems to show the humanity sufferings that originate from human conflicts.
The meaning of human suffering is brought out ion both poems. In Dover Beach it is brought out by the suffering that humankind faces due to the loss of their religious beliefs due to the psychological conflicts that exists in their minds. Similarly, in The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock and Dover Beach, human suffering is experienced due to the psychological conflicts taking place in the minds of the modern man due to the amount of knowledge he has and cannot translate it into an understandable manner. The two poems embrace musicality because they both contain anaphora. In The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock the word to is used in the four lines between line 91 and line 94 to bring out the musicality of the poem. In Dover Beach, the word so is repeated in the fourth line of the fourth stanza to bring pout the musicality in the poem.
Even though both poems talk about the different aspects of human suffering, both poets approach the inference based on the different settings and era in which they were written. The poem The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock embraces human suffering on the basis of the modern man while the poem Dover Beach embraces human suffering in the Victorian era. Both utilize different themes as an indication of the same topic but they bring out the topic in a different language. Both poems are written in the from of a dramatic monologue because the poet of The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock admired the poetry of the 19th century thus duplicating the form in which the poems were written in his 20th century poem. The poems are also written in a similar setting which is a clear indication that though the poets approached the tpi9c from different angles they still embraced some similarities in their poetic work. Human suffering is clearly brought out in both poems though it embraces diverse psychological ideas. The poets may be different but they share similar views thus bringing out the prevalent topic of human suffering in both poems. In conclusion, although both poems are based on human suffering they exhibit different aspects that bring out the uniqueness of each poem.
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