Explain the lines “To say: “I am Lazarus, come from the dead,…   That is not it, at all” from Eliot’s The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock


To say: “I am Lazarus, come from the dead,
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all”—
If one, settling a pillow by her head
               Should say: “That is not what I meant at all;
               That is not it, at all.” (Lines 94- 98)

This is how Prufrock, the middle-aged, bald-headed, mediocre bachelor-hero of T.S.Eliot plans to propose to the lady of his choice in the poem The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. The timid, hesitant hero is here found to rally strength to presume his way to start his hard business.

Prufrock, gathering all his courage and forwardness, speculates to propose to the lady, baring his heart to her and
telling her all about his life and experience. In this connection, he thinks of a scriptural character Lazarus, a poor beggar, who was uplifted to heaven, while his miserly host, Dives, a wealthy person, was consigned to hell. As narrated in the parable told in Luke XVI 19-31, Lazarus, a poor beggar, was associated with a rich miser Dives. After their death the poor man was taken to heaven and the rich miser, to hell. Dives, the rich miser, however, wanted to warn his brothers against the punishment of hell and prayed to God for allowing Lazarus to come and tell all about
heaven. But Lazarus was not permitted. The Parable of Lazarus is applied by Prufrock to his own case of proposing. He likens him soft to Lazarus to told the fashionable ladies of what they do not know. But he is apprehensive of their cold response to him and to his warm proposal. He even fears that the beloved lady may coldly turn down his proposal. Maintaining the characteristic urban courtesy, she may just slightly shift her posture and politely point out to him that he has misinterpreted her civility as her amorous weakness for him. In short, Prufrock is afraid of his straight rejection by her.

The evasive defeatist in Prufrock comes out here. He suffers from a complex of inferiority, and is anticipatory of frustration in his project, so much nurtured by him. It is to be noted in this connection that two Lazures are mentioned in the Bible. Besides the one, already related, there is another, the brother of Mary and Martha, the dead man, whom Christ brought back to life He, however, said nothing of his experiece. This story is told in John
XI, 1-44.

Also read; Bring out the elements irony and sarcasm in Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.”