Historical Context in The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

Text of the Poem 2
"the Fool..."   (Text of the Poem)

he Fool here refers to the character as well as to the tarot card with that character on it. Eliot's fascination with tarot is displayed both here and in his masterpiece "The Waste Land" and is an attempt to access archetypal iconography with psychological underpinnings. In tarot, the Fool is a card with unlimited potential, but great naivete, and is prone to squandering his opportunities, much as Prufrock squanders his chances at real human connection.

"Talking of Michelangelo..."   (Text of the Poem)

Michelangelo was a famous Renaissance painter and sculptor whose most famous works include the "Statue of David" and the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. That these women are discussing Michelangelo suggests that the poem's speaker has left the red-light district.