It is a narrative poem first published in 1897. “Richard Cory” tells the story of a wealthy and seemingly perfect man named Richard Cory, who is admired and envied by the townspeople. The poem explores themes of appearances, wealth, and the disconnect between external perception and internal reality.
In the poem, Richard Cory is described as “a gentleman from sole to crown” who possesses all the attributes of success and prosperity. The townspeople view him as a figure of admiration, wishing they could be in his position. However, despite his wealth and seeming happiness, Richard Cory takes his own life, shocking and perplexing the townspeople.
The character of Richard Cory to define the process that how a man by whom the people of the small town are fond of, and get inspiration but can commit suicide. The personality of Richard Cory is a wealthy man, schooled in a right way, and the well-educated person in the poem.
Moreover, the speaker at the end of verse points out the economically devastating conditions of his fellow beings and himself that how they were striving for the food and other necessities, and on one calm summer night, Richard Cory put a bullet into his head.
Richard Cory, a great masterpiece of Edward Arlington Robinson written in 1897 as part of “The Children of the night.” The scene and the imagination of poet are quite difficult to gain insight, however, after the death of Edward Robinson, many critics in America started to recognize Edward and his works the great valuables.
The speaker of the poem seems a middle-class man of the small town, who is narrating the story of a man Richard Cory in his poetic way. In his narration, the reader can find the regret and affection for the character Cory. But, the poet, in the end, turns into a tragic turn when Richard Cory who was the inspiration for many people in the town shoot himself in the head.
The core of this point revolves around the mindset that rich person is always happy while the poor think that happiness comes from the wealth and money. It is clear by the tone of the speaker in the poem that how he is exaggerating in glorifying the personality of Cory.
The speaker perceives the nature and behavior of Richard through his appearance, clothes, his way of talking and his wealth. The Richard Cory illustrates the character sketch of the person in poet’s hometown Gardiner, Maine.
The Central Point
Besides that, the speaker of the poem first narrates the irony and disasters of their economically devastated condition that they have to strive hard for the food and bread in the daily routine of their life, whereas the Cory in their view is living their wishful life that he can do what he wants to do because he owns much of the place in their town. But the speaker of the poem is unable to look into the mind and emotions of Cory that he is suffering from suicidal depression.
It is one of the fatal dilemmas of society that poor people assume that happiness and delights of life can only be possible through money and other material possessions, but the suicide of the rich people in society and exclusively Cory shooting himself in the head describe the irony of life.
This paradox illustrates that people expect something different and meet something else. Along with that, the short story wrapped in the poem also points towards the panic of 1893 in America which was the disaster for economic conditions in America which remained till 1897.
The themes present in “Richard Cory” include:
- Appearance vs. reality: The poem highlights the contrast between Richard Cory’s outward appearance of wealth, charm, and happiness, and the internal struggles he faces. It serves as a reminder that appearances can be deceiving, and true happiness and contentment cannot always be determined by external circumstances.
- The illusion of wealth and success: The poem challenges the notion that material wealth and success automatically lead to happiness. Cory, despite his wealth and social standing, suffers from inner turmoil and ultimately chooses to end his life. It suggests that true fulfillment cannot be solely derived from external achievements.
- Social class and inequality: “Richard Cory” addresses the divide between the wealthy and the common townspeople. The admiration and envy felt by the townspeople for Cory underscore the disparities and social hierarchy within the community. It raises questions about the value society places on material wealth and the effects of socioeconomic divisions.
- Isolation and alienation: The poem hints at Cory’s sense of isolation and disconnection from the townspeople. Despite his outwardly perfect life, he remains distant and separate from the community, emphasizing the loneliness that can accompany external success and societal expectations.
“Richard Cory” is a thought-provoking poem that challenges our assumptions about happiness, success, and the complexities of human existence. It serves as a reminder to look beyond surface appearances and to consider the inner lives of others.
It is thus not surprising that development and wellbeing of society linked to the economic conditions of that society which if not achieved can lead the lower class to conceptualize the meaning of life in materialism and money, strengthened by the feelings of anger, mistrust, and apathy experienced by them due to economic deprivations.