Richard Cory Essay Example
Richard Cory Essay Example

Richard Cory Essay Example

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  • Pages: 3 (712 words)
  • Published: September 19, 2017
  • Type: Autobiography
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In 1897, Edwin Arlington Robinson wrote Richard Cory, a poem that reveals the flaws of a man who is idolized by his community. The speaker describes Richard Cory as an esteemed figure with wealth, power, and intelligence. However, despite appearing content in the eyes of others, Richard Cory tragically ends his own life. Simon and Garfunkel's song based on the poem was released in 1966 and depicts the narrator working for Richard Cory while admiring him despite his tragic fate. Although there are slight differences in how both the poem and song portray the narrator's feelings towards Richard Cory, they both emphasize that true happiness cannot be obtained through material wealth alone. The poem highlights Richard Cory's impressive physical appearance which accentuates his wealth. The line "richer than a male monarch – and laudably schooled in every gr


ace" suggests that he not only possessed vast riches but also had intelligence and manners. His simple greeting of "Good Morning" was enough to captivate everyone around him. The phrase "we thought that he was everything" indicates that both the working class and the narrator believed this regal-like man possessed all desirable qualities. However, it is then revealed by the narrator that one calm summer night, Richard Cory chooses to end his own life by shooting himself in the head.This starkly demonstrates that life encompasses more than just material possessions; there are certain intangible things like happiness, love, and friendship which money simply cannot buy.The people in the town all aspired to be in Cory's position. The working class looked up to and admired him. The statement "Whenever Richard Cory went downtown, we people on the pavement looked

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at him" indicates that Cory held a higher status in others' perception. He was the object of envy for the entire town. The townspeople believed that living like Richard Cory would bring them eternal happiness. Throughout history, individuals have always idolized what others possess and achieve. In fact, some become so consumed with wanting to resemble those they admire that they forget their own authenticity. However, similar to Cory's case, the townsfolk were unaware that they were happier than their wealthy counterpart who came from high social standing. Having a balance in physical, mental, and emotional aspects of life is more valuable than any amount of money in existence.
The song "Richard Cory" emphasizes a wealthy and influential man who seemingly has it all but is unhappy.The narrator highlights his power, grace, and style; however this banker's only child remains dissatisfied with his life.His decision to take his own life shatters the illusion of his seemingly perfect existence and leaves readers questioning why he would do such a thing.Maybe his wealth, status,and possessions were insufficient to bring him happiness.Another theme present in the song is the narrator's envy towards Richard Cory while working at a mill and cursing his poverty-stricken life.The narrator observes Richard Cory with envy, as he owns half the town and enjoys lavish parties on his yacht. However, the narrator fails to realize that appearances can be deceptive and that money does not guarantee happiness. Simon and Garfunkel's version of the poem portrays Richard Cory in a more negative light compared to the original. In the song, he is depicted as using political connections to spread his wealth and indulge in excessive partying

on his yacht. The vocal suggests that Richard Cory is an honest man who does not earn money himself. The line "Cory owns one half of this whole town with political connections..." showcases his control and influence. Unlike the speaker in the poem who admires him, the speaker in the song clearly resents Richard Cory. Both pieces aim to teach two life lessons - firstly, that money cannot buy happiness; many individuals with little money are envious, mistakenly believing that wealth alone brings joy. However, there is more to life than material riches. Secondly, they highlight that things are not always what they seem; those less fortunate envy Cory assuming his life must be perfect due to his wealth. Yet it becomes evident when he takes his own life one calm summer night by shooting himself that Richard Cory was not as content as everyone perceived him to be.

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