"Richard Cory" by Edwin Arlington Robinson

Essay by lindros15 May 2006

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The poem "Richard Cory" by Edwin Arlington Robinson is a poem written about the town aristocrat named Richard Cory. It is written with four quatrain stanzas with a rhyme scheme of a, b, a, b, for each stanza. The poet's use of hyperboles and royal comparisons when describing Richard Cory help to elevate him above the townspeople, and his casual mentioning of Cory's suicide leaves the reader in a state of shock.

The first stanza of the poem introduces Richard Cory as a respected man of town. The second line uses the words "we people", implying that the townspeople recognized themselves as being on a different level than Cory. Describing them as being "on the pavement" gives the visual imagine of people sitting around on the street staring up at the wealthy aristocrat walking by. The third line says Cory was "a gentleman from sole to crown." The word crown has obvious royal implications, which is more of Cory being elevated above the townspeople.

Cory is not a gentleman from "head to toe", but instead from "sole to crown". The fourth line uses the phrase "imperially slim" to describe Cory. The word imperial means "belonging to an empire" or "grand." While imperial is not usually thought of as a way to describe slim, it is more of Robinson expressing the importance of Cory.

The second stanza shows how the town adores Cory. After the first stanza's description one might think Cory elevated himself above the others. Line 6 disproves this by saying "he was always human when he talked." This tells the reader that Cory talked as though he was on the same level as the others, not pretending to be a king or noble. Lines seven and eight show more of the town's worship of Cory. The...