W.H. Auden

Critical Analysis of the Poem “Who’s Who” by W.H. Auden

2 Mins read

“Who’s Who” is a biographical poem and W. H. Auden is among the best poets of the 20th century. The experimental traits in his poetry; Eliot-like modernism, his middle stage, included Marxist and Freudian themes. All these characterized his early stage, and his late stage were more conversational and dealt with Christianity. He experimented with quite a lot of varieties: lyric poetry, odes, ballads, meditations, arguments, satires, conversations and more. 

The poem Who’s Who of W.H. Auden is structured in an approach through which we could say that the poem itself seems like, if it’s giving someone’s information. Simple words like he, him, and his give us a way that the writer is speaking about only one individual, because the words are in singular.

Although believing that the poem talks about just one individual makes perfect sense, if we have a look at the title of the poem, we could question that concept. The title of the poem “Who’s Who” is like a question. The writer wants us to look as much as whom corresponds does particulars which are given within the poem.

A famous individual is well-known by people, people know their background, their achievements, what they do and what they don’t. We discover this concept in lines like: How father beat him, how he ran away, this might be some background information of an individual; made him the best figure of his day, which might be an instance of an achievement of an important person, and so on.

Read About: Major Themes of W.H. Auden’s Poetry

The turning level of the poem lies in line 9. “With all his honours on, he sighed for one.” He then goes on to explain the life of the “one” who, “did little jobs about the house with skill/And nothing else” (11-12) amongst different things typical of a typical man.

There’s a comparability that the writer presents within the last line of the first verse. Here Auden talks about how the individual which he’s speaking about within the poem, assuming that’s probably an important person, he additionally has suffered for love, similar to us. This element in regard to the poem makes readers establish with the individual, or the poem itself that’s being presented. The writer here makes use of a special tone from the rest of the poem.

This word ‘weep’ takes us into the poem and makes an emotion evoke in the reader. And not simply the tone itself, but additionally the comparability that he made, saying: “… like you and me”, made the poem really feel as if it was an experience.

This sensation of reality within the poem comes from the concept that the topic of love is a well-recognized subject by people and lots of the individuals in reality have felt love whether being the results happiness or crying over it.

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