Edwin Arlington Robinson, in his poem ‘Richard Cory’ portrays a man envied by people in his town due to his wealth and fashion. The people wish to be like him just at the sight of his magnificent look and place Richard Cory on a pedestal. The author portrays the main character to be richer than a king that made everyone think he was like a god. However, the people learn a valuable lesson, with all his glam and fashion, when he ends up killing himself by putting a bullet through his head. In the poem, Robinson uses a variance of representative methods, which include denotation, connotation, metaphors, and irony, to present the character. The essay will analyze the poem in detail to support the theme that wealth, money, and glamour do not guarantee happiness in the life of any individual.
The author starts by using connotation, where he refers to the coming of Richard into town as coming down to the level of the people in the town. He says, ‘Whenever Richard Cory went downtown’ (line 1). This describes the high regard the people of the town place the character. This is because they view themselves as being of a lower class. This is also evident when the author writes, ‘We people of the pavement looked at him’ (line 2). The fact that a sidewalk is more superior to a pavement gives Richard Cory a high standard in the town.
The characters in the poem have been strategically placed to show the gap in the financial status where Richard Cory is viewed as a very wealthy person while the people in downtown admire his wealth and glamour and wish to be in his position. The author has also employed denotation, where he describes Richard Cory as a local royalty who was wealthy and well educated. Robinson continues, ‘And he was rich—yes, richer than a king’ (line, 9). He also writes, ‘And admirably schooled in every grace’ (line, 10). The author has used denotation by describing the actual status of the character among the people of the town. This also portrays to be a perfect man, one who the people of the town want to be like.
Robinson has also employed metaphors in the poem. He states, ‘Good Morning,’ and he glittered when he walked’ (line, 8). He also says, ‘And he was rich—yes, richer than a king’ (line, 9). These statements do not give literal meaning to the character of Richard Cory. However, they create an image of an individual who is very noble and blessed among the people of the town (Meyer).
Robinson has also employed irony in the poem, where he portrays the character as a wealthy man who has everything in life. However, he goes to his house and puts and kills himself in the end. Robinson states, ‘And he was rich—yes, richer than a king’ (line, 9). He also states that he ‘Went home and put a bullet through his head’ (line, 16). The irony is that Richard Cory was, in the beginning, a very wealthy and happy man who would have whatever he would want.
He was, however, a depressed man despite being rich because, in the end, he put a bullet through the head, ending his own life. The author has also used repetition, where the word ‘and’ has been stated several times. Repetition has been used to create an image of Richard Cory, where he is placed as a very influential person in the town. Repetition has also been employed to build the events in the poem towards the climax, where there is shock at the end of the poem.
In conclusion, Robinson has used the elements of connotation, denotation, metaphors, irony, and repetition to create a scene that is common in everyday life today. People who are not well privileged described in the poem as people from downtown envy the life of the rich. They perceive that life as perfect as seen in the poem where Richard Cory is admired by many people in the downtown. They, however, are not aware of the sadness and unhappiness that comes with being wealthy. This is because wealth alone is not enough to fulfill the desires of life and can lead to death, which is evident at the end of the poem where Richard Cory kills himself.
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