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Analysis of The Unknown Citizen by W.H. Auden

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Length: 1475 words (4.2 double-spaced pages)
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Analysis of The Unknown Citizen by W.H. Auden

“The Unknown Citizen”, written by W.H. Auden during 1940, is a poem
where the speaker, a representative of the state or government,
directs a speech to the audience about a monument being erected for a
citizen. Written in free verse, although using many couplets, this
poem is a poem that describes the life of a certain person through his
records and documents. This citizen is portrayed as a normal and
average human being who is being honoured for being normal. Auden,
however, uses the fact that the state is honouring someone for being
normal to criticise his society. By emphasizing certain grammatical
conventions and the structure the author explains the true meaning of
this poem, and the unidentified citizen.

“The Unknown Citizen” is a poem that directs an epitaph to a common
man in the country. In honour of the monument for the citizen, a
speech is given as a tribute to his doings. This man is depicted as a
man who obeyed the law and never did anything incorrect, and he was
known for taking part in many government ha...


... middle of paper ...


...rly demonstrates once the reader analysis the poem.

W. H. Auden is a poet who portrays his emotions and feelings through his poetry, and in this certain poem, “The Unknown Citizen”, Auden criticises the state. He uses allusions and capitalization to make the reader understand the actual meaning of the poem and by adding the final couplet in the poem, Auden reaches tries to get the reader to think. Auden leaves the reader hanging and makes them think; is our society and government really totalitarian? Or is this how our government will be?

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