Figurative Language In Richard Cory, By Edwin Arlington Robinson

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“Richard Cory”, written by Edwin Arlington Robinson, portrays a man’s life story only through the effect of his personality upon those who admire him. The poem is separated into four stanzas, each unfolding a different aspect of the protagonist’s life represented by the townspeople. This poem is devoid of almost any literary elements and figurative language; however, the words themselves still have resonance. By formulating assumptions and opinions of how the other half lives, the “people on the pavement” have put Richard Cory on a pedestal, creating an emotional and social barrier that potentially contributes to his suicide.
“Richard Cory” follows the rhyme scheme of ABAB, with ten syllables each line. Certain lines stand out such as “clean favored, and imperially slim” (4) and “went home and put a bullet through his head” (16). These lines accentuate the stresses in each syllable for further emphasis; each stanza explains a portion of Richard Cory’s character, seen through the eyes of the townsfolk. The first stanza speaks about the town’s consensus of Richard Cory, using phrases such as “He was a gentleman from sole to crown” (3). The second stanza explains his personality towards others, describing this man to “[flutter]
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Another line in the poem, “And he was rich – yes, richer than a king” (9) supports this. The speaker straightforwardly states that Richard was rich, but there is a sense of exaggeration, maybe even envy, when he adds “richer than a king” (Grimes). The speaker(s) also use the term “crown” when describing Richard Cory as a gentleman: “He was a gentleman from sole to crown” (3). The word “crown” could mean the top of his head, but it could also mean the headgear a king would wear (Grimes). The term “sole” could be taken as a different way, being a homophone of “soul”, insinuating he has a good soul. This further associates Richard as being a

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