Auden uses several literary devices to position the poem as a satire. This satire is not just a poem about the man who died, but it is also a commentary on contemporary society. In this poem analysis, we will discuss how Auden positioned the poem as a satire and an elegy.
Auden uses several literary devices to position the poem as a satire
The tone of this poem is post-victorian, which is a key characteristic of satire, and Auden makes use of several literary devices to position the poem as satire. He rejects the traditional methods of moral communication, focusing instead on the human mind and its inability to be influenced by direct preaching. He argues that modern readers must be influenced by indirect means of teaching, including poetry.
Auden employs allegory throughout his work. This rhetorical device is an important feature of his poetry, as it allows him to make abstract concepts concrete and evocative. He can use any imagery he chooses in an allegorical way, including those from math, natural history, mythology, meteorology, and cooking. In addition, he uses images with a moralized meaning in order to convey his message.
It is an elegy
Auden’s poem “The Unknown Citizen” is a parody of a typical elegy, which is a poem written to commemorate the life of a recently deceased person. But rather than a family member, this poem is delivered by “the State” – a reference to the government and its institutions. It pokes fun at the modern world for giving the state so much power and showing the oppression this can cause.
“The Unknown Citizen” uses rhymes throughout, but not in the typical way. Instead, rhyming words are placed one after another and in couplets. For example, “Inc.” does not rhyme with “partner” until line 13 (“drink”). On the other hand, “Fired” rhymes with “retired.”
It is a satire
The poem begins with a speech praising the life of the dead “unknown citizen.” The speaker, who is a creepy “we,” says that the dead man did everything right and was obedient. “And he did so without complaining. He never even dared to say his name. “We” say that if there was any wrong doing, the state would have found out by now, and he would have been punished by now.
The poem satirizes the concept of government control over individuals. The unknowing citizen has no agency or choice in his life. All his actions are dictated by a group of people. The unknown citizen is a pawn in this system of power.
It is a commentary on contemporary society
The unknown citizen poem is a commentary on society in a modern context. It was written by W.H. Auden shortly after he immigrated to the United States, and it explores how society treats the individual. The poem is a satire on bureaucracy, a commentary on how man loses his individuality and freedom in a capitalist society. The poem also shows how poverty is a major enemy of freedom, and how the poor suffer because of it.
While the poem does contain some metrical elements and rhymes, it fails to be beautiful or emotionally moving. It reads more like a conference presentation than a poem. Instead of listing all of the good things the unknown citizen had done in his life, the poem instead lists all the ways in which the state monitored his every move. Despite this, the reader will see that the unknown citizen’s only lapse was in his decision to serve in the “War.”
It is a satire on the Soviet Union
In The Unknown Citizen, w.H. Auden takes on the Soviet Union and the Soviet system by writing about the everyday man, who conforms to the dictates of society. This person, who is known only by his number JS/07/M/378, is unable to have any real freedom or agency. Instead, he is governed by bureaucratic conventions and relegated to a routine job.
The Unknown Citizen uses several literary devices to convey its message, including the use of Irony, Allusion, and the Rhetorical Question. As a satire, the poem is filled with irony, which is used to convey the idea that society and governments can’t be trusted to create happiness.