Richard Cory and Suicide

A review of the poem “Richard Cory” by Edwin Arlington Robinson.

The paper analyzes the four-stanza, sixteen-line long poem “Richard Cory” by Edwin Arlington Robinson about the suicide of Cory. It examines how Robinson employs simple but well-chosen words to illuminate the title character and illustrate the tension between Richard Cory’s inner and outer worlds. It discusses the use of the first person plural pronoun, ‘we’ to identify with the ‘people on the pavement’ and how it lures the reader into identification with the general populace enabling the reader to perceive Richard Cory through the people’s eyes, rather than the poet’s.
Robinson places far more attention on the actions of Richard Cory than he does on the populace because the poem characterizes Cory. But the working class people who come into contact with Cory color their perception of the clean favored man. We the people on the pavement…thought that he was everything, because Cory seemed to glow. His presence evoked a sense of quiet envy, of respect and admiration. We people lived down town, a visible and metaphoric distinction from the uptown, well-educated milieu of Richard Cory.