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In his poem Eliot paints the picture of an insecure man looking for his niche in society Prufrock has fallen in with the times and places a lot of weight on social status and class to determine his identity He is ashamed of his personal appearance and looks towards social advancement as a way to assure himself and those around him of his worth and establish who he is Throughout the poem the reader comes to realize that Prufrock has actually all but given up on himself and now sees his balding head and realizes that he has wasted his life striving for an unattainable goal The beginning of the poem is pre-empted by an excerpt from Dantes Inferno which Eliot uses to begin his exploration of Prufrocks self-consciousness By inserting this quote a parallel is created between Prufrock and the speaker Guido da Montefeltro who is very aware of his position in hell and his inability to escape his fate Prufrock is also very aware of his current status but doesnt realize until the end that he is unable to rise above it The issue of his fate leads Prufrock to an overwhelming question10 which is never identified asked or answered in the poem This question is somehow associated with his social status but both its ambiguity and Prufrocks denial to even ask What is it11 gives some insight into his state of internal turmoil Prufrocks dissatisfaction with his personal appearance is evidence of an underlying lack of self-confidence Not only is he unhappy with the way he looks having To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet but he is constantly afraid of what others will have to say about him They will say How his hair is growing thin41 and But how his arms and legs are thin44 Prufrocks preoccupation with looks shows how much he is caught up in the social scene and how much his identity
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