Essay: The Unknown Citizen
On the other hand, The Unknown Citizen is a poem by Auden about a man who does everything right as per the community’s demands. He was even found by the Bureau of Statistics as a person without any compliant since he did everything to the benefit of the greater community, “He was found by the Bureau of Statistics to be one against whom there was no official complaint, —— he was a saint”. Even in personal matter like the number of children to bear, he just had the right number, “He was married and added five children to the population”. This is a patriotism level of the highest order by ensuring that you are perfect in all aspects in the society. This does not mean that this man was happy. He had to be loyal to the demands of his country to be free from any form of accusations.
The speaker here is also sympathetic with this man since even after all his righteousness; he has to be scrutinized by all the sectors of the community to ensure he is indeed a saint. It is also sympathetic after one understands the forms of rules and conditions that this citizen has to obey. By serving the greater community, one is left to understand that this is not an easy task for the conditions are too demanding as the speaker asks, “Was he free? Was he happy? The question is absurd”.
Both the citizen and the soldier in the two poems are loyal to their communities so that they can be free from any form of accusations. In order to be loyal to the community from where one comes from, one has to hurt other people or himself since the conditions set are too demanding and sometimes seem impossible but have to be met. The soldier kills a friend he has once met and whom we are sure that they could relate well. This is hurting to himself too for killing someone without concrete reasons.