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Richard Cory Analysis/ Response Essay

1.In the poem “Richard Cory” by Edwin Arlington Robinson, what does the death of this man reflect on the society and how he was idolized?

2.Life is a constant theme in “Richard Cory” and throughout the poem Cory is referred to in high praise, but with closer inspection, it can be seen that Richard Cory is already almost seen as dead when he is alive because people treated with him with too high of a status. “We people on the pavement looked at him” (2), this line figuratively means that Cory is above the common people, possibly referring to his elevated status, but this could also mean a spiritual elevation as if he is a spirit walking among the grounded living much like an angel or messiah, which is how people treat him. “He was a gentleman from sole to crown” (3) Here the speaker tries to give the reader multiple concepts, the first one being literal, with the idea that he was a good man from head to foot, the other ideas focus on the phrase “sole to crown” (3) which follows a royalty aspect, that is only the first among other royalty parallels such as “richer than a king” (9) which refers back to the idea of a messiah, like Jesus who was seen as the “King of Kings.”

Richard Cory was only a man to the people even though he was seen as more than one throughout the poem “And he was always human when he talked ;”(6) as if he was not already human but was something more. This gives a sense of loneliness to Richard Cory who seems to have nothing but money, which could mean that the society in this poem links happiness to money. This constant reminder of the idolatry of Richard Cory is seen throughout the poem such as “imperially slim”(4) which means that he has the appearance of a ruler, which shows that he rules over the people of that town, not in a literal sense, but through their aspirations meaning the society is trapped in almost a prison of its own choosing “So on we worked, and waited for the light,”(13) much like how a prisoner is waiting for freedom, these people are waiting to become someone they are putting on a pedestal.

By Richard Cory killing himself he tries to act as a martyr to free the corrupt society from its shackles and to finally step down from being a king in their life to being a regular man and showing them that society does not need money to be happy.

3.Money is not the root to happiness, and life is something that should be lived by every person differently, because no two people are alike so it is useless to copy others or their way of living.


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