Richard Cory is rich, famous and beautiful. Most people would give anything to be in his place. But is that enough for Richard Cory?
by Edwin Arlington Robinson
Let me begin by saying, Edwin Arlington Robinson is a masterful poet. You do not win the Pulitzer Prize three times by chance. If you are in search of dark themes and miserable characters, he should be your go to.
“Richard Cory” could be a story of depression as a disease rather than a circumstance. It could also be a story of not judging a book by its cover. What drove him to kill himself is left as a mystery. Perhaps it was depression. Maybe he was worse off in other circumstances. I believe the poem is better for not saying why. Beyond leaving the poem on a shocking note, the mystery addresses the reality of suicide more than any explanation could.
This horrifying poem is a great moral lesson. It has also inspired many works of arts. My favorite is a song by Simon & Garfunkel.
Still wishing you could be someone else?