Oliver Goldsmith was a famous English writer. Among his writings is a prose collection of essays titled “The Citizen of the World”. The “The Man in Black” is a piece of writing from this collection of essays. In this essay, Goldsmith makes a mockery of the then contemporary society. He attacks the social and political situation that dominated during Anglo-Saxon period in England.
Goldsmith subtly discourages some of the deficiencies of the then society through this article. Through this writing he mocks at the society for exhibiting the trend of showing ‘what you are not’. In a subtle way he ridicules the pretentiousness of the society by portraying a contrasting character. The Man in Black is a character created by Goldsmith for this purpose. The mockery of the then society is exhibited through a routine walk and conversation between the Man in Black and his friend.
The Man in Black is a very interesting character. He is inconsistent. He does not practice what he preaches. He is a kind, sympathetic, and genial person with a compassionate heart. Outwardly, however, he seems unkind, looking like a rude, curt, and stern person. This is in contrast with his inner personality. Goldsmith is mentioning this man as the ‘Man in Black’ because this man seems black outside but white and noble inside.