Richard Cory by Edward Arlington Robinson – Focus on Situational Irony and Character

Richard Cory

Whenever Richard Cory went down town,
We people on the pavement looked at him:
He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
Clean favored, and imperially slim.
And he was always quietly arrayed,
And he was always human when he talked;
But still he fluttered pulses when he said,
“Good-morning,” and he glittered when he walked.
And he was rich—yes, richer than a king—
And admirably schooled in every grace:
In fine, we thought that he was everything
To make us wish that we were in his place.
So on we worked, and waited for the light,
And went without the meat, and cursed the bread;
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
Went home and put a bullet through his head.
Considerations for Critical Thinking and Writing from Meyer & Miller, The Compact Bedford Introduction to Literature, pg, 608.
“Richard Cory seems to have it all. Those less fortunate, the ‘people on the pavement,’ regard him as well-bred, handsome, tasteful, and richly endowed with both money and grace. Until the final line of the poem, the reader, lie the speaker, is charmed by Cory’s good fortune, so quietly expressed in his decent, easy manner. That final, shocking line, however, shatters
Situational Irony
Richard Cory Interpreted by Simon & Garfunkey