Analysis of Richard Cory

             In both Edwin Arlington Robinson and Paul Simon’s versions of the poem “Richard Cory” the author investigates the supposedly anonymous surfaces of life in a peculiar and rather cryptic manner. These men both describe through the use of one man, Richard Cory, and his experiences to view the contrast between those surfaces and the torture and torment that could lie beneath them. There is an equal premise in both poems; a wealthy man who is idolized and envied by those who consider themselves less fortunate, commits suicide. Although there are many comparisons between the two poems, there are slight differences in tone, meter, and the overall character of Richard Cory.
             In Robinson’s poem, Richard Cory is described as a true gentleman, who was “quietly arrayed” and “always human when he talked.” He never publicly displayed his wealth and believed even the poorest man deserved his politeness and respect. Robinson’s word choice to describe Richard Cory such as the use of the phrases “sole to crown” and “imperially slim” categorizes and abandons Cory in an elevated class he loathed being associated with. Thus, Cory is seen as a regal figure that is unwillingly cast apart, torn away from society and his admiring subjects.
             Nowhere does the speaker give direct evidence of Richard Cory’s real character. The reader is only given the comments of the people about him, except about his last act, which speaks for itself. There is a contrast between Cory and the people that is seemingly weighted in favor of Cory in the first three stanzas. Ironically however, Cory’s suicide brings about a full-circle moral role reversal between himself and the townspeople. As Richard Cory is dethroned by his own demise, the virtue of the people is elevated. This contrast is carried through the first two lines of the last stanza, which shows that even though the people were unhappy, at least they went on living. Cory, w...

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Analysis of Richard Cory. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 08:13, January 21, 2017, from