Deception of Appearance in Edwin Arlington Robinson's "Richard Cory"

In “Richard Cory” Edwin Arlington Robinson explores the deception oi appearances. Richard Cory was a wealthy man, admired and envied by those who consider themselves less fortunate than he. Seemingly, Richard Cory was the model of success. dignity, and wealth, a standard to which every man was measured. However, Richard Cory didn‘t have everything; the desire to live through Richard Cory. Robinson illustrates how appearances can be deceiving and how depression and despair is not confined to the “people on the pavement”.

Cory‘s portrait is drawn for us by a representative man, who depicts him as “irnperially slim,” “a gentleman from sole to crown.” (line 3), and “richer than a king” (line 9) Cory is Immediately elevated from the ordinary man to a position often associated with monarchy.

This contrast serves as the primary tone of the poem. Nowhere are we given direct evidence of Cory‘s real character: we are given only the comments of the people about him, except lor his last act.

taking his own life. Ironically, Cory‘s suicrde brings about a reversal of the roles. In the poem cory is suddenly dethroned and the people are correspondingly elevated. The people “worked, and waited for the light,” but they went on living, showing the strength to endure. This suggests a spiritual sustenance at greater value within the peoples of Cory wealthy as he was, did not live: Instead, he “put a bullet through his head”  on “one calm summer night“ (line 15). ”

The “people on the pavement” (line 2) are shown that depression and despair isn’t always attributed to social class or material wealth: it can affect anyone.

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The once “clean favored” (line 4) and “admirably schooled“ (line 10) Richard Cory is demoted to a human character. A real Oberg 2 person With problems like any other. The repetition in the poem helps to emphasize this point. The lrequent use of “And”  truly underscores the Irony in the poem. Robinson bombards the reader with the notion that Richard Cory has everything anyone could want. The reader becomes immersed in Richard Cory’s wonderful life. Through this language, the reader experiences along with the people the amazement of Cory‘s death, And eventually, both the reader and the people discover their false conclusions about Richard Cory Robinson succeeds in making a memorable point, elegantly.

The poem also contains a meter of abah with five accented syllables per line which supplements the idea that these people didn’t bother to familiarize themselves with the deeper Richard Cory. It maintains a lighter feel right up until his death this quality serves to emphasize the unexpectedness oi Cory‘s death as the reader expects a happy ending to go along with a relatively happy poem up until that point. The details ol Richard Cory in the poem only deal with his external qualities. All of those who knew Richard Cory, believed that he was standard to which everyone should strive to be like. Belief ironically was the one thing the people had: and the one thing Richard Cory lacked. Blinded by images of great material wealth, the people tailed to see that Richard Cory was spiritually bankrupt. The very things that served to give Richard Cory the status that he had attained also reveal the inner emptiness that led him to take his own life.

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Deception of Appearance in Edwin Arlington Robinson's "Richard Cory". (2023, Jan 12). Retrieved from

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