Irony in Richard Cory

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ESSAI
Volume 5 Article 13

1-1-2007

Irony in "Richard Cory"
Peter Cohen essai_cohen@cod.edu Follow this and additional works at: http://dc.cod.edu/essai Recommended Citation
Cohen, Peter (2007) "Irony in "Richard Cory"," ESSAI: Vol. 5, Article 13. Available at: http://dc.cod.edu/essai/vol5/iss1/13

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Cohen: Irony in "Richard Cory"

Irony in “Richard Cory” by Peter Cohen (English 1130)

E

dward Arlington Robinson’s “Richard Cory” is a narrative poem illustrating how we, as individuals, should cherish that which we have, because the truly important things in life can be lost if our attention strays to envy. By being thankful, this would lead to a greater sense of fulfillment, thus negating the natural human urge to want what we do not, and cannot, have. Another point expressed by Robinson, to steal a basic literature reference, is not to judge a book by its cover. Although a cliché, the austerity of the message coincides with the fundamental principles of the poem’s intent. As a whole, Robinson uses irony as a foundation for the context of the poem. Specifically, the poem takes on a sense of tragic irony. Richard Cory’s only accomplishment the reader has knowledge of is to commit suicide. Although Cory appears to have everything a man could desire (status, riches, charm, looks, etc.), he mentally collapses and all previous intentions are lost. In this particular poem, Robinson includes himself as an admirer of Cory. To relate to the reader even more, Robinson is seen as one of the commoners telling this tale of woe. Writing from the first-person point of view, Robinson immediately casts Richard as a celebrity, explaining that “we people on the pavement looked at him.” Richard Cory



Cited: Robinson, Edwin Arlington. “Richard Cory.” An Introduction to Literature: Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. 14th ed. Eds Sylvan Barnet, William Burto, and William E. Cain. New York: Pearson/Longman, 2006. 692. 28 http://dc.cod.edu/essai/vol5/iss1/13 2

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