I have to respectfully disagree
with Mssr. Demiurge
never hesitates to speak his mind
--to his friends, his mother
, his parent's friends, and anyone else who'll listen
. Prufrock's precise problem
is that he knows more than he can say. He has thought
too much, possibly gone too far afield
, to ever reconnect
. His greatest fear
to the petit bourgeoisie
; that he will be made a fool
of in the drawing room
And I have known the eyes already, known them all --
The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,
And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,
When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,
Then how should I begin
To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?
And how should I presume?
Compare Prufrock's terror
of social embarrasment
ness, when asked by his mother
to explain his mood
Seems, madam! nay it is; I know not 'seems.'
'Tis not alone my inky cloak, good mother,
Nor customary suits of solemn black,
Nor windy suspiration of forced breath,
No, nor the fruitful river in the eye,
Nor the dejected 'havior of the visage,
Together with all forms, moods, shapes of grief,
That can denote me truly: these indeed seem,
For they are actions that a man might play:
But I have that within which passeth show;
These but the trappings and the suits of woe.
This is precisely the speech Prufrock would make, if he only had the courage. Hamlet is a transgressive figure, ever resisting the status quo and resentful of authority, while Prufrock has long since surrendered to the tyranny of the polite society and vainly wishes to be free.
But the most damning argument against this comparison of Prufrock to Hamlet is made by Eliot himself in the body of Love Song:
No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
Am an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or to
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use,
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous--
Almost, at times, the Fool.