Studium anglistiky na KAA UPOL

Eliot, T. S. "Portrait of a Lady."


- introduced by a statement signed "The Jew of Malta" announcing in a biblical language a sin of fornication was committed x continuing in a common language it does not really matter

- winter: an uneasy social intercourse in a candle lit room concerning music and contemporary issues yet avoiding any personal comments which might disturb; the speaker feels uneasy in the sterile setting and uncomfortable about the lady who apparently clinches to him

- spring: the lady continues her quest of winning the speaker, unsuccessfully tries to achieve her aim by emphasizing her impending death and the high esteem she feels about their friendship

- autumn: the lady eventually recognizes there is no friendship between them, yet does not see the cause of this condition, and continues to mourn her vulnerability and her unfulfilled desire about the speaker

- conclusion: the speaker travels away and muses what if the lady actually dies and leaves him sitting with a pen in his hand above the letter he promised to write her



- irregularly rhymed, irregular poetic line and stanza varying according to the speaker's flow of thoughts

- 3 numbered sections: mark the shifting seasons, shifting relationships, and shifting parts of a musical piece 

- interweaves seasons, human lives, and music to describe all in terms of one another

- the sterility of a fashionable sociable life: uneasy conversation, isolation even amid society, failure of mutual understanding

- an unspecific fear resulting in a perpetual paralysis: the speaker does not dare to offend the lady, even to explain himself, does not actually speak directly throughout the poem at all


  • Author

    Eliot, Thomas Stearns. (1888 - 1965).
  • Full Title

    "Portrait of a Lady".
  • First Published

    In: Prufrock and Other Observations. London: The Egoist, 1917.
  • Form


Works Cited

Eliot, T. S. "Portrait of a Lady". (1917). Collected Poems 1909 - 1935. London: Faber and Faber, 1946.


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