Why is Prufrock unwilling to compare himself to Hamlet?

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The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock is a notable literary work by T. S. Eliot. A complete discussion of this literary work is given, which will help you enhance your literary skills and prepare for the exam. Read the main text, key info, Summary, Themes, Characters, Literary Devices, Quotations, Notes, to various questions of The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.


Why is Prufrock unwilling to compare himself to Hamlet?

T.S. Eliot (1888-1965), in his great poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” (1915), creates a cowardly protagonist who does not want to compare himself to any brave personality like Hamlet, a tragic hero from Shakespeare’s famous tragedy play, Hamlet. Prufrock is unwilling to compare himself to Hamlet for some reasons, which are discussed below:

Hamlet is Superior to Prufrock: Prufrock is the spokesperson of Eliot’s poem “The Waste Land”, while Hamlet is the hero of a Shakespearean play. Though they both are the protagonists, Prufrock refuses to compare himself to Hamlet, as he considers himself inferior to Hamlet. He says that he lacks heroism like Hamlet. It is evident in the following line:

No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be.

Love Proposal is Less Important Than Killing A Man: These two characters are indecisive. Hamlet is hesitant and uncertain in taking action, resulting in his utmost tragedy. Prufrock loves women but fears making love proposals. Though they are indecisive, Prufrock is reluctant to compare himself to Hamlet, as he thinks that killing a man is more serious than making a love proposal.

Different Social Roles: J. Alfred Prufrock comes from a general aristocratic family. He generally dresses gorgeously and pretends to present himself as young. He loves women’s touch but fears proposing to them. On the other hand, Hamlet has a royal birth. He is the son of the late king, and his uncle is the present king. He is the bravest Danish prince. Prufrock says,

I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker.

In termination, Prufrock refuses to compare himself to Hamlet, the prince of Denmark, due to his lower birth, social position, and internal courage. Though he is unwilling to compare, they both possess a mutual personality, which is their indecisiveness.