Eliot Handout

English 203

Dr. Fike


"Tradition and the Individual Talent":


  1. See the essay, paragraph 3.
  2. What happens in the poem?  Cf. Henry James's "Crapy Cornelia."
  3. POINT: 
  4. Over a dozen other allusions in "Prufrock."


Group Work:


  1. The epigraph—Dante's Inferno.
  2. Michelangelo.
  3. Hamlet.

POINT from "Ulysses, Order, and Myth":


Other Facts about Literary Tradition in "Prufrock":


  1. Dramatic monologue:
  2. The poem functions as a hinge:
    1. I Can Hear the Mermaids Singing
    2. Blown Away


The Opening Stanza:


  1. Who are "you and I"?
  2. What about "a patient etherized upon a table"?
  3. Rhyme scheme:
  4. The direction of sexual energy:  downward.
  5. Energy vs. restraint:
    1. What things suggest energy/violence?
    2. What things suggest restraint?
    3. Key term:  objective correlative:




  1. Which wins—energy or restraint?
  2. Why mermaids?
  3. What is the significance of the tercets?