In “Richard Cory”, Edwin Arlington Robinson uses irony, simplicity, and perfect rhyme to depict the theme of the poem. The rhyme in “Richard Cory” is almost song-like, and it continues throughout the whole poem. The theme of the poem is that appearances are deceiving.
The poem is about a man who everyone thinks is a “gentleman from sole to crown”, who then commits suicide. Irony is used in the poem very skillfully to show that appearances may be deceiving. When reading the poem, you get caught up in the song-like rhythm and it intensifies the effect of the tragedy. You think that everything is going perfectly, and that the poem is going to have a happy ending until you get to the last two lines, which are, “And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,/ Went home and put a bullet through his head.
” When Richard Cory kills himself at the end of the poem, it is as shocking to the reader as it is to everyone else in the poem who assumed him to be the all around perfect guy. It is ironical that the man who everyone else thought was “perfect”, was missing something, and took his lifeWhy does everyone want to be like someone else? It is human nature to want to be admired and honored. This is not right, though. Each and everyone person should be happy with who they are because just imagine if everyone were perfect and the same. The world would be quite boring.
Edwin Robinson clearly shows us in his poem “Richard Cory” that the life of someone else may not be all what it is cracked up to be. The townspeople looked up to Richard Cory, they envied him and his lifestyle. However, if they would have looked a little closer, instead of judging him from his appearance, they would have not wanted to be just like Richard Cory.Judging by the poem, the story is told from that of one of the townspeople. This can be shown by looking at the second line of the poem where it states, “we people on the pavement looked at him” (line 2).
This person seemed to be confused as to why a man held in such high regard would take his life. He seems to be confused that a man, a man everyone wanted to be like, would commit suicide. Although it is not directly stated in the poem as to why everyone is confused about his death, the tone of the poem seems to explain why they are all perplexed by his death.The poem focuses on how the townspeople admired Richard Cory.
“He was a gentleman from sole to crown” (line 3). We get the idea that Richard is a “Clean favored” good looking man, and that his attire is fully formal, “he was always quietly arrayed” (line 4). What is meant that “he was always quietly arrayed” means that he dressed nice, but not so nice as to attract attention to himself. The fact that “He glittered when he walked” gives us the idea that he has this aurora about him. He has this special quality that will make him stand out in a crowd. However, he did not look down on the townspeople. “He was always human when he talked,” (line 6). He was always down to earth when he spoke to them.
We learn that Richard is quite the wealthy man as it states “And he was rich-yes richer than a king” (line 9). “We thought he has everything” gives the reader the feeling the townspeople thought he had everything in life to fulfill happiness. They wanted to be like him; the!y “wished that they were in his place” (line 12). It even seems that the townspeople were quite jealous of Richard.
They “went without the meat and cursed the bread” because they didn’t have the finer things that Richard possessed.The irony of this poem lies in the last two lines. Throughout the poem we are told how Richard is this, and has that. Then abruptly, we find that Richard committed suicide by “putting a bullet through his head” (line 16). Why would someone so popular and coveted kill himself? Why would he do it “one calm summer night” (line 15). Why not when the sky was gray, and he was down on his life?So now we come down to the million dollar question, “Is Richard the man we would all really want to be like?” From the point of view from the townspeople, we guess he is. Poor Richard, though, thought otherwise. After all, he chose death over life.
Maybe it is better to just be content with who we are.