What the heck does Michelangelo have to do with this?

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"In the room the women come and go/ Talking of Michelangelo" (The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock T.S. Eliot).

   This line didn't seem to fit in the first time I had to read this poem but this time, it is how out there it is that makes it fit in.  Prufrock is so worried about all these different things "overwhelming question[s]," aging "bald spot in the middle of my hair," and the unknown ("mermaids" are symbols of this).  The women on the other hand are not concerned with things like Prufrock.  They are more concerned with Michelangelo who painted perfection.  This line, I believe, is in here in order to contrast our main character to the women and everyone else.  This helps show how different Prufrock is.

5 Comments

Stephanie Wytovich said:

I really liked the quote you chose from the poem. I agree with you in the sense that it was added as a contrasting feature. I think that it is actually kinda funny because in this poem, Prufrock is the one obsessing about balding, multitasking, and other extremities, while the girls are just talking about Michelangelo and not getting stressed about anything. It's almost like role reversal to me, becuase typically you see girls stressing over about stuff like that.

p.s. That was not a bash to the guys out there :)

Greta Carroll said:

How different Prufrock is now. I think Prufrock was once like them too, but as he ages he realizes how pointless such things were. He looks at these women who just sit around talking of Michelangelo and slowly wasting their lives while they occupy themselves with unimportant endeavors.

But like you Angela, I did not get what Michelangelo had to do with anything the first time I read the poem. It seemed very random to me, but when I read it a second time, Eliot’s meaning began to sink in a little bit better.

Kaitlin Monier said:

When I first read this line, I also did not understand why that line was in the poem. It seemed too random. Your explanation makes sense, and this line does seem show that Prufrock is different.

I think the author trying to contrast the greatest of Michelangelo with the wrenchtedness of Prufrok.

I agree that the line serves as contrast. I also think that it is trying to show how sophisticated and educated the women are. They must be women of an upper class society if they are discussing the works of Michelangelo. I am not trying to stereotype and say that lower class people can't appreciate Michelangelo, I am just observing that perhaps that is another meaning behind that quote.

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