Symbolism, And Imagery In Richard Cory By Edwin Arlington Robinson

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In Edwin Arlington Robinson’s poem, “Richard Cory,” the main themes are status and wealth do not ensure happiness, and appearances can be deceiving. The poem is about a rich man, named Richard Cory, who appears to have everything. The poor people of the town admire and even envy Richard Cory. However, in reality, Mr. Cory is an extremely unhappy individual, who unexpectedly kills himself. Throughout the poem, Robinson uses symbols, imagery, and irony in order to develop and reinforce the poem’s themes.
Robinson uses many symbols in this poem. A symbol is an object, a person, a place, an event, or an action used to represent something else (Meyer 888). In the poem, Richard Cory is described as a rich gentleman, but he is also a symbol for upper society. In addition, the first line states “Richard Cory went down town” (1), which symbolizes that he is not part of the downtown
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Poets create images by using descriptive language which helps to stimulate the reader’s senses (Meyer 841). For example, Richard Cory is such a celebrity, “he fluttered pulses when he said ‘Good morning’” (8) to the townspeople, which means they are excited when he speaks to them. Cory is also described as a “gentlemen from sole to crown” (3), who “glittered when he walked” (9), and was “richer than a king” (9). This imagery helps to create an image of privilege and wealth, and to aid the reader in understanding why the townspeople admire and envy Cory. Another example of imagery is found in the last two lines of the poem. The contrast of the image “one calm summer night,” (14) evokes compared with the image conjured by “put a bullet through his head.” (15) makes Cory’s suicide that much more dramatic. The imagery used by Robinson supports the themes by establishing that Cory has wealth and status, and the townspeople believe he is happy, but in actuality, he is

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