Analysis of Richard Cory, by Edwin Arlington Robinson

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Poetry is central to the English language as both a communication tool and as a cultural heritage that dates back to antiquity. Poetry is a diverse and complex art that takes a life time to decipher the poet’s intent and motivation in a poetic literature. This paper explores the content and stylist imbued meaning in Robinson Edwin Arlington 1897 poem; Richard Cory. “Richard Cory” is a sixteen stanza poem that narrates the rich, elitist and nobility, but socially unfulfilling life of a man bearing the name that forms the title of the poem. The name Richard Cory is metaphorically derived from King Richard I; Richard Coeur de Lion (1157-1199) of England, and is used by the poet as a satire to mock the illusionary blissful contentment of the poem’s protagonist from the society’s perspective (Gateway 18). This essay explores the illusionary imputed richness, elitist, and nobility identity of Richard Cory by his fellow countrymen, and how that illusions worked his committing suicide. The poem faults the society’s idealism for richness, wealth, elitism and nobility as source of happiness.

The images painted about Richard Cory in the poem are external, superficial, and aesthetic humanizations of the society’s imagination. Richard Cory is painted as a rich, wealthy, elitist and noble gentleman conspicuously towering above the public. He is a the odd one out in the neighbourhood in terms of social class standing, and is a social lone ranger and a foreigner; if not an outcast, in a social class. Nevertheless, Richard Cory’s relationship with his relatively inferior or lower class country men is not that of a loathed intruder, foreigner, outcast or a racist discriminated person. In fact, he is adored by his fellow countrym...

... middle of paper ... cannot fill the social vacuum in his spiritual soul.

Richard Cory’s suicide will remain an enigma in the mind of his countrymen, which complicated by a literal perspective about life. Equally, Richard Cory’s life will remain unfulfilled even in immortality as the spirit that yearns for social compassion is immortal an irresolute even after death.

Works Cited

"Bible Gateway." Bible Gateway. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 Dec. 2013. .

"Richard I Coeur de Lion ('The Lionheart') (r.1189-1199)." The British Monarchy . N.p., n.d. Web. 3 Dec. 2013. .

Roberts, Edgar V., and Robert Zweig. Literature:An Introduction to Reading and Writing. Fifth compact edition ed. Glenview: Pearson, 2012. Print.
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