The Speakers in An Irish Airman Foresees His Death and The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

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Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • An Irish Airman Foresees His Death
  • The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
  • Conclusion


The statement from 'The Second Coming' - the best people 'lack all conviction,' while the worst are 'full of passionate intensity" - applies to the speakers in 'An Irish Airman Foresees His Death' and 'The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.'

An Irish Airman Foresees His Death

To begin, the speaker in 'An Irish Airman Foresees His Death', Major Gregory, volunteered to participate in the war as an airman which this information alone can seem to adhere to W.B. Yeats statement about the worst people. However, this is not the case as unlike the quintessential soldiers who stand firm in their beliefs and motives- whether it may be to defend what they love or resist and fight against what they hate- the speaker in the poem directly declares his reasons does not root from these intense emotions. The speaker is also not fighting in the war for duty nor law or other common convictions but simply for his delight and excitement. This was not a rash decision as line 1 through 10 supports that the speaker settled and "balanced all, brought all to mind" (line 13) after his own thoughtful understandings. Therefore, Major Gregory is one of whom W.B. Yeats would consider as best people who "lack all conviction."

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The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

Furthermore, in "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" the speaker or J. Alfred Prufrock is a prime example of people who "lack all conviction." Prufrock questions very action with "do I dare?" from whether to engage in a conversation, turn back, or eat a peach. He is self-conscious and over analyzes the situations which lead him to negatively complicate things. He the opposite of being "full of passionate intensity" because he is unable to decide his actions. The possibility of rejection and the comments about his balding hair as well as thin arms and legs frightens him to the point he becomes anxious about every little thing.


A traditional hero is someone who is resolute in their convictions and acts upon it. In addition, they are characterized to possess mental and physical strengths. With the abilities, the hero will protect his people and also fight to demolish the antagonist. In the modern world, it is very difficult to be heroic in a traditional sense because every situation does not have a traditional antagonist and not all heroic deeds are considered heroic. Every person will have an opinion or criticism. While one person can see a person as a hero, others may disagree and this can also be said to the antagonist. It is hard to discern what is right as well as correct and what is not today as sometimes to be a hero in modern time means going against something that a larger crowd follows and it is risky. This makes it difficult to be completely resolute in our convictions.

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