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Transcript of Richard Cory
Significance of Title
Once again, Robinson adds meaning to the name of his characters, this time possibly alluding to King Richard I of England, for Cory is described as almost kingly, and there is similarity in the name: Richard Coeur de Lion and Richard Cory.
A man named Richard Cory seems to be blessed with looks and demeanor, and all those around him like and envy him. However, as those around him live in jealousy, he just commits suicide on a random day.
This poem seems to also be a lesson, and the speaker is expressing that wealth does not bring happiness, even if it is common belief to think so.
By Edwin Arlington Robinson
irony-lines 13-16; "So on we.../.../.../...through his head."
~Those around Cory think that being like Cory will bring them happiness, so they work toward wealth, but Cory is lacking something in his life, and hence ends it.
metaphor-line 13; "waited for the light"
~The light represents better times or the obtainment of riches.
symbolism- line 14; "without the meat, and cursed the bread"
~The meat represents higher class and more luxury goods, while bread represents the poorer and less expensive goods; the people are disappointed they cannot live in wealth like Cory, and curse what they have.
repetition- lines 5&6; "And he was always.../And he was always..."
~ This emphasizes how Cory always seemed to be better than the others, and how perfect he seemed all the time.
alliteration- line 13; "we worked, and waited"
~ The alliteration brings to point how hard the others were trying to be like Cory, while Cory was unsatisfied with his life; the others and Cory are all unsatisfied with their lives.
The writer is trying to convey that it is important to be appreciative of what one has, instead of being jealous of what others have.
In "Richard Cory," Edwin Arlington Robinson indifferently portrays a kingly yet unhappy character named Richard Cory that is unable to obtain happiness through his riches, like those around him hope to do; through Cory and the usage of irony, Robinson shows the importance of appreciating one's current status, instead of being jealous of another's. A "gentleman from sole to crown," Cory is the envy of all around him, due to not only his demeanor and appearance, but also due to his status and wealth. These people around him work and toil to achieve Cory's status, eating bread and going "without the [expensive] meat." This reveals the irony in their situation, for it is shown that as those around him work and "[wait] for the light," Richard Cory "put[s] a bullet through his head," unable to be happy, due to reasons not said. Because many associate wealth with joy, Robinson uses ironty in this poem to show that this train of thought can be a misconception, backing the fact that correlation of wealth to joy does not mean that wealth is the cause of joy.
The tone of the speaker is that of envy and admiration, but when it is revealed that Richard Cory killed himself at the shift in line 15, the tone becomes sort of flat and indifferent.
In "Richard Cory," Edwin Arlington Robinson indifferently portrays a kingly yet unhappy character named Richard Cory that is unable to obtain happiness through his riches, like those around him hope to do; through Cory, Robinson shows the importance of appreciating one's current status, instead of being jealous of another's.