Characterization and the Use of Situational Irony in Richard Cory - Essay Example

Comments (0) Cite this document
In the poem “Richard Corey” by Edwin Arlington Robinson, the perceived perfect life of Richard Cory is starkly contrasted by his unimaginable suicide thus creating a distinct look into situational irony. This irony itself further provokes the readers to look into the inner being of the central character, Richard Cory…
Download free paperFile format: .doc, available for editing
GRAB THE BEST PAPER94.1% of users find it useful
Characterization and the Use of Situational Irony in Richard Cory
Read TextPreview

Extract of sample "Characterization and the Use of Situational Irony in Richard Cory"

Characterization and the Use of Situational Irony in “Richard Cory” In the poem “Richard Corey” by Edwin Arlington Robinson, the perceived perfect life of Richard Cory is starkly contrasted by his unimaginable suicide thus creating a distinct look into situational irony. This irony itself further provokes the readers to look into the inner being of the central character, Richard Cory. The collective narrator, “we” and Richard Cory are in two different situations in which the meanings of suicide are contrastive with each other. Indeed the author’s characterization of his subject facilitates greatly to this irony of situation that keeps the readers carefully secluded from Cory’s world. Refraining from focusing on the cataclysms and absurdities of Richard Cory’s life the author chooses to keep his readers in the same darkness that the collective narrator, “we” of the poem seems to remain in. Referring to the characterization Joyce C Levenson notes that Arlington Robinson “gives us nothing of his subject’s motives or feelings. He sketches in Cory’s gentlemanliness and his wealth, but not his despondency, and he lets the suicide seal the identity of the man forever beyond our knowing or judging” (45).
Again in the poem, the narrator’s self-characterization itself serves as a foil to the characterization of Richard Cory. Referring to the function of the “we” in the poem as a character, W. R. Robinson says, “in "Richard Cory," where the collective "we" speaks as a character” (34). By the narrator’s word, it is evident that the “we” refers to the majority of the commoners, in everyday life, who struggle hard for the bread and butter, as the collective narrator “we” says, “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” (Robinson, “Richard Cory”). In contrast with the narrator’s hardship, Richard Cory “was rich…richer than a king/ And admirably schooled in every grace” (Robinson, “Richard Cory”). The word ‘perfection’ suits best with how Richard Corey appears before the readers. Aristocratic charms such as ‘clean favored’, ‘imperially slim’, ‘quietly arrayed’ etc, make him more desirable to the working class people. However, at the same time, one more thing that underlines the image of Richard Corey is satiety. He is “everything” (Robinson, “Richard Cory”).
Indeed in the narrator’s world where everyone struggles hard for life and struggle to defer death as far as it is possible, Cory’s suicide is almost surprising, as Hoyt C. Franchere says, “the crashing climactic moment of the night that Richard Cory "went home and put a bullet through his head" appalls every reader with its suddenness” (32). In literal term, Richard Cory apparently has everything. Such a wealthy, prosperous and perfect life is desired by the “we” in the poem, as the collective narrator says, “he was everything/ to make us wish that we were in his place” (Robinson, “Richard Cory”). By putting these opposing aspects such as perfective life and suicide, hardship and desire to live, etc side by side, the author provokes his readers to find a probable meaning for the unimaginable suicide of Richard Cory. The author wants to remind his readers of the fact that life is not what it looks like. Even though Cory looks like a sufficient individual, he really is not such sufficient. In this regard, Franchere comments, “What private sense of failure, what personal recognition of his own inadequacy, or what secret unfulfilled longing drove Cory to suicide, Robinson does not say; he leaves the reason for his readers to determine” (56). Also there is another possibility that Robinson wants to say that the burden of satiety is far more unbearable than the hardship and struggle for life; that absurdity of existence reaches its climax when man is deprived of the opportunities of struggling for life. Richard Corey is “everything” and “rich –even richer than the king” (Robinson, “Richard Cory”). So the fulfillment of all of his goals and dreams of life pushes him towards suicide. But the working class townspeople who go without meat, still survive through their work. But the irony is that the townspeople are not farsighted enough to view the pain of satiety. Ultimately, they continue their work for their survival, but Richard Corey commits suicide on “one calm summer night” (Robinson, “Richard Cory”).
Works Cited
Franchere, Hoyt C. Edwin Arlington Robinson. New York: Twayne Publishers, Inc., 1968.
Levenson, Joyce C. Edwin Arlington Robinson: Centenary Essays. Ed. Ellsworth Barnard. Georgia: the University of Georgia Press.1969
Robinson, A. Edwin. “Richard Corey.” 1869, from
Robinson, William. Edwin Arlington Robinson: A Poetry of the Act. New York: Jacob Publishers, 1967 Read More
Cite this document
  • APA
  • MLA
(“Characterization and the Use of Situational Irony in Richard Cory Essay”, n.d.)
Retrieved from
(Characterization and the Use of Situational Irony in Richard Cory Essay)
“Characterization and the Use of Situational Irony in Richard Cory Essay”, n.d.
  • Cited: 0 times
Comments (0)
Click to create a comment or rate a document

CHECK THESE SAMPLES OF Characterization and the Use of Situational Irony in Richard Cory

Richard Cory from a Nineteenth and 20th Century Perspective

...writes: “Richard Cory”…[illustrates] 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. (P. Cohen 27) In Simon and Garfunkel’s lyrics we get a completely different sense—of protest, rage if you will against the inequities of birth and opportunity. Robinson, in his final stanza, finishes with a hint of irony and the reader gets the feeling that nothing has changed… So on we worked, and waited for the light, And went without the meat, and cursed the...
4 Pages(1000 words)Essay

Use of irony in Oedipus the King

...?Use of Irony in Oedipus the King Introduction Dramatic Irony initiated in the Greek plays and gradually with time was incorporated in the rest of the tragedies largely and comedies at particular places. It is essential to understand the meaning of dramatic irony before analysing the impact of the device used in one of the greatest plays by Sophocles, Oedipus the King and understand the perspective from which Sophocles treated this literary device into the plot of the play. Dramatic irony is a rhetorical device or a literary technique that employs a climactic consequence. Particularly this type if irony is implemented in the situation where the character in the play is about to make any mistakes or commit one without any priori... but the...
3 Pages(750 words)Essay

Poetry Richard Cory

...what somebody is like inside just from the outer appearances. The rhythm of the stanzas, as well as the light tone that the poem starts in, are not at all foretelling of what is to come in the last stanza, unless if one employs irony and listens to the foreboding that this poem seems too light to be taken at face value. Thus the rhythm of the poem-regular, perfect grammatical stanzas, and the rhyme scheme which follows in an orderly way, seem to show the outside perfection of Richard Cory's life. However, only the last two stanzas give away (what goes on in) his inner life, and this is in sharp contrast to the outside appearances, in fact, completely contrary to the seeming...
3 Pages(750 words)Essay


...from his father, squanders it in a distant land, and is reduced to abject poverty and starvation. He returns home to be warmly received be his father and be showered with affection and attention, to the resentment of his elder brother, who has dutifully remained at home all this while. The parable of The Prodigal Son uses characterization to draw clear parallels between the younger son and sinners, the elder son and the Pharisees and the father and God. The younger son represents sinners and, more particularly, the publicans of Biblical times. The publicans were tax collectors who were detested for their oppressive and extortionate tactics. The younger son exhibits the same greed for material wealth as...
3 Pages(750 words)Essay

Analyzing The Poem Richard Cory

...Richard Cory” Analysis As John Dale has d it, there are many tales of wealthy and powerful men that develops a self-loathing that even leads some in taking their own lives (29). The poem “Richard Cory” by Edwin Arlington Robinson clearly depicts such noting. Anyone who has read this poem surely will not forget it even for the rest of his life. It has an impact that no other poem has, and it leaves a mark simply because it has a lesson inside of it. The poem reminds us that wealth is not all that there is. Everyone wishes to be wealthy and that’s a fact. Everyone wants to have every luxurious thing in life. People easily get jealous to others who can...
1 Pages(250 words)Essay

Arlington Robinsons poem Richard Cory

...Arlington Robinson’s poem “Richard Cory” Thesis: In Edwin Arlington Robinson’s poem, “Richard Cory,” he conveys the theme of human irony through the use of imagery, figurative language, and the archetypes of calm summer night and light. The poem “Richard Cory” by Edwin Arlington Robinson written in the year 1897 holds the mirror for the prevailing societal conditions impacted by industrial and internet revolutions and materialistic civilization. This is twenty-first century. Violent incidents happen and are reported daily in newspaper headlines, and through electronic media....
4 Pages(750 words)Essay


...Jerry Ciacho May 03, Richard Cory by Edward Arlington Robinson Richard Cory, in my opinion, is a very heartrending poem in which its end was unnervingly unexpected. As the reader of this beautiful piece of poetry, Richard Cory did not possess any noticeable or imaginable flaw, until he distressingly puts a bullet through his head. In my opinion, the author was trying to convey a specific message: that a person everyone might envy might simply be a man who perhaps have everything anyone can possible have in this world except peace of mind and love money cannot buy. Therefore, although he has everything that he could possibly want in this...
1 Pages(250 words)Essay


...Irony Irony is the use of terms to give a different meaning from the real meaning. There are several types of irony whichare dramatic irony, situational irony, tragic irony, romantic irony, classical irony and verbal irony. Irony can be used to bring out the sense of humor especially in drama or in stories. It can also be used to give information to only a selected number of people. According to Kate Chopin in her story, “The Story of an Hour”, there is a lot of irony involved (Chopin,...
3 Pages(750 words)Essay

Cory Monteith

...Cory Monteith Section 3- Integration of Psychological Investigation Michael Jackson-Erickson’s Psychological theory Michael Jackson remains one of the most celebrated music stars of the 19th Century. He produced dozens of albums that his fans adored worldwide. Despite being a household name, Michael’s lifestyle remains a mystery to date not just to his lovers, but also to his critics. His life would be described as a walk shadowed with one controversy after another. The controversies he was involved in did not just begin after thrusting into the limelight, but it began when he was much younger when he used to disagree openly with his father over everything. The mystery that surrounded Michael’s life is what made me seek a better... decisions...
3 Pages(750 words)Essay

Richard Cory and Mending Wall by Edwin Robinson

... and relates the suicide case with the rich man’s neighbors who are not aware of the man’s predicament. In this case, Edwin Robinson tries to demonstrate that the materialism has trapped every American does not make always bring happiness to the life. In the entire poem, there is no place that the poet mentions that Richard Cory had family, lovers or friends. In this case, the issue of loneliness is explicit. Robinson is trying to persuade Americans that companionship is an essential element of life. as such, the poet demonstrates the shallowness that the rich experiences in America. in this, he cites although money is good, it just bring more worries and when a person is used to accessing a lot of money, they will lose the value... of...
2 Pages(500 words)Essay
sponsored ads
We use cookies to create the best experience for you. Keep on browsing if you are OK with that, or find out how to manage cookies.

Let us find you another Essay on topic Characterization and the Use of Situational Irony in Richard Cory for FREE!

Contact Us