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Irony in Richard Cory Essay

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Richard Cory was written in 1897 by Edwin Arlington Robinson. This sixteen line poem tells a lot about human irony. Richard Cory, a very wealthy man, admired and envied by those who consider themselves less fortunate than he, unexpectedly commits suicide. The most fascinating part of this poem is the reason why he shot himself when he had everything? Through their own mental prejudices and exaggerations of reality, the people, by putting Cory on a higher level than them, also created a communication barrier that later pushed Richard to commit suicide.
In the poem we only know Richard Cory by what the people see and think about him. His feelings, other than when he commits suicide, are never truly stated. Throughout the poem the only thing we learn about Richard Cory are the images that the everyday people have of a man who is seen almost as a king. In the second line of the poem, the villagers express that they feel inferior to Cory when they say “We people on the pavement looked at him” (2). The people referring to themselves as “people on the pavement” might be inferring that the people are homeless; in their opinion Richard Cory is seen as a king “He was a gentleman from sole to crown” (3). and they are just his admiring subjects. Even the name Richard Cory is and allusion to Richard Coeur-de-lion, or King Richard 1 of England. Then, the public goes on to describe Richard as a true gentleman, “And he was always quietly arrayed,/ And he was always human when he talked” (5-6). These lines show that the public think that Richard Cory never truly came off as very wealthy because he believed that even the poorest person deserved politeness and respect. The word “always” in lines five and six could suggest that th...


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...h will always remain a mystery. People can read the poem and come up with many different assumptions on why Richard Cory ultimately killed himself, but we will never be certain which one is right. This situational ironic story shows that appearances don’t always reflect the true picture of man’s inner being. Richard Cory is not a King; he is human



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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