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Edwin Arlington Robinson battled with depression all through the broader part of his life, It is nothing unexpected that this unpleasantness that hampered his youthfulness is expressed in his most acclaimed poem, ‘Richard Cory’. The poem ‘Richard Cory” is a standout amongst Robinson’s most celebrated and powerful ohms. It narrates the story of a man who, regardless of being wealthy, educated, and well respected, kills himself by shooting himself in the head. In this poem, Robinson reveals something to the people that the whole world needs to understand: individuals’ outside appearance and demeanor do not illustrate their aspect of happiness and complete fulfillment with life. People cannot determine another person’s happiness.
The poem, ‘Richard Cory,’ is the story of a man who appears to have everything. The population of the town, who is evidently of a more inferior economic class, put Richard Cory on a pedestal. They lionize him and wish to be like him. He is deemed a “gentleman from sole to crown/ Clean favored, and impartially slim” (Robinson, lines 3-4), because of his way of life and his riches. They think highly of him and envy his success and even believed he was richer than royalty, “And he was rich—yes, richer than a king—/ And admirably schooled in every grace:” (Robinson, lines 9-10). In the end, the towns people receive an important life lesson. When Richard Cory murders himself, it reveals to the people of the town that a few things can’t be acquired and that looks can be deceiving. Riches and status don’t ensure happiness.
In the poem, Robinson explores the deception of appearances. Richard Cory was a well off man, appreciated and begrudged by those who consider themselves less fortunate than he. All of the townspeople believed Richard Cory was everything. With his great looks, riches, nice clothes, and a benevolent aura. “In fine, we thought that he was everything/To make us wish that we were in his place.” (Robinson, lines 11-12). The townspeople envied him and wished they were in his position. That is to say, the townsfolk respected him because of his appearance and not because of himself. Richard Cory, the most extravagant and most attractive man around, isn’t happy by his great looks or wealth.
The townspeople feel miserable, dissatisfied, and discontent with what they have “So on we worked, and waited for the light/ And went without the meat, and cursed the bread” (Robinson, lines 13-14). They ached for a more prominent life. They wanted to experience light in their dark lives and so they cursed the bread. In effect, they are not thankful for what they own. While the townspeople are poor they are all united while Richard Cory detached. Richard Cory didn’t have everything. In fact, he didn’t want to live. The townspeople don’t see their own riches and blessings. They are blind by Richard Cory. This demonstrates how the townspeople know nothing.
The poem “Richard Cory” ends in a twisted way. In the beginning, Richard Cory is shown as perfect. However, it ends when the man kills himself. ‘ And Richard Cory, one calm summer night/ Went home and put a bullet through his head’ (Robinson, lines 15-16) as we can see, his life wasn’t so perfect. No one can ever know what exactly is happening in another person’s life. I believe that if Richard Cory had any type of companionship, relationship or some kind of relative present in his life he would not have committed suicide. In other words, Richard Cory’s isolation was the cause of his suicide.
In conclusion Richard Cory portrays an unhappy character that is unable to obtain happiness through his riches, unlike those around him that hope to gain it. Through Cory, Robinson shows the importance of appreciating one’s current status, instead of being jealous of another’s. As wells as to not determine another’s happiness by their appearance. Throughout the poem Richard Cory is admired by the townspeople for his wealth and positive qualities. However, we see the appearances tell s nothing. The townspeople though that just because Richard Cory was wealthy he was filled with happiness, thus they envied him. That was not the case. In the end, Richard Cory killed himself showing to the townspeople everything isn’t always as it seems. He looks happy on the outside but inside he was suffering greatly.