- Published: October 21, 2022
- Updated: October 21, 2022
- University / College: Newcastle University
- Language: English
- Downloads: 21
Analysis of Richard Cory In the ironic poem, “ Richard Cory” by Edwin Arlington Robinson, the author conveys a simple profound message that someone else’s life may not be an ideal existence. Richard Cory’s wealth, distinction and admiration from the ‘ people on the pavement’ demonstrated that in their eyes he was the American dream. He was respected, well admired, envied and they wished they could trade lives with him.
Richard Cory” is a dramatic poem, written in four stanzas of regular alternating rhyme scheme. The speaker is a town person or a member of the lower class community. The speaker describes the town’s people view of a high class upstanding citizen. The speaker in the poem assumes Richard Cory is everything anyone could want to be since Cory possesses, materialistically, all that can make one happy.
The speaker takes for granted the idea that the grass is greener on the other side; that money brings happiness; and his words “ And he was rich-yes, richer than a king”/In fine we thought that he was everything to make us wish that we were in his place” shows no insight that it might bring emptiness rather than happiness ultimately revealing that wealth does not always bring the serenity that one desires but it creates the illusion of contentment.
It is strange how someone who supposedly has everything money can buy, so easily resorts to suicide?
While the poor working lower class that are telling the story continue to live on and deal with all their hardships as stated in these lines “ So on we worked and waited for the light and went without meat and cursed the bread”, they can’t even buy meat but unlike them, Richard Cory gives up on hope. Perhaps he suffered from loneliness since the speaker makes no mention of friends or family. The emphasis is placed on his appearance and material success.
The last line of this poem reveals its ironic truth, that the happiest facade masks an unhappy, lonely and incomplete individual who “ one calm summer night, went home and put a bullet though his head”. Richard Cory symbolized a goal that the town’s people struggle to achieve, however Cory wanted more out of life than just money, so he took his life.
Robinson teaches us that money, as important as it is, cannot replace happiness and happiness cannot be measured in dollars and cents.