And indeed there will be time
To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”
Here’s an annotated version and recording of Eliot himself reading this perplexing and disturbing poem.
The poem, described as a “drama of literary anguish”, is a dramatic interior monologue of an urban man, stricken with feelings of isolation and an incapability for decisive action that is said “to epitomize frustration and impotence of the modern individual” and “represent thwarted desires and modern disillusionment.”
— Kathleen McCoy and Judith Harlan, English Literature From 1785 (New York: HarperCollins, 1992), pp. 265–66