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"Richard Cory" is considered one of the most popular poems of Edwin Arlington Robinson. It describes the life of a prosperous man as it appears in the eyes of the jealous factory workers. Richard Cory seems to be very successful, "richer than a king", and becomes the object of everyone’s attention. All along the poem, Cory is shown as a polite gentleman, the perfect citizen who is eager to help people on the street. The rich man seemed to be very sociable and popular among the ordinary people, as he could "flutter pulses" with a single "Good morning". Everybody on the street desired to be on his place, as Cory looked as an impressive social figure. Eventually, the poem ends up tragically as good-natured Richard Cory commits suicide.
The poem "Richard Cory" is the bright example of irony and simplicity use. The song-like rhythm catches up the reader’s attention and intensifies the impressions from the tragedy. As it may be seen from above, Richard Cory was associated with luxurious and perfect life, as he was rich, educated, and cheerful. In this case, it was quite ironical that the man, who was considered perfect, suddenly became unhappy with his being and decided to end his life with suicide. The situation when the person who seems to own everything one can only desire, demonstrates that money and wealth can never buy the real happiness. This case shows clearly that human appearances may be deceiving, as people are not always who they seem to be. Very often, rich people appear to be very lonely, sad, and feel themselves abandoned by the rest of the world. The wealth itself does not give satisfaction, because there are no close people around who can share the happiness and support through the hard times.
As a rule, wealthy people have no lovers, no family, and no friends. The fact of being lonely makes a negative impact on every person, as humans find it vital to be included in social life and feel needed by someone. While looking at Richard Cory, townspeople were full of envy at him, as they believed that money was the only thing that made him superior and satisfied with life. It is the human nature in desiring to be popular and admired by the other people. As it often happens, the poor people do not understand how it is to be rich. Wealth is believed to be something that can make one truly happy and is considered to be the key to success. As it was shown in the poem, Richard Cory was always friendly and never acted arrogantly, but he had no harmony in his inner world.
The truly happy man is not the one who has a control over people, a city or a country, but the one who can manage his own life. In this case, only those people who control their thinking and behavior can own their lives. Richard Cory preferred to behave according to his status, rather than the way he would like it to be. It made him feel the imbalance and prevent him from living in harmony with himself. The rich man was likely to hide the real condition of his soul behind his gentleness and apparent happiness while talking to the ordinary people on the street. Peace of mind is one of the main components of rich people’s happy life. Cory’s death demonstrated that wealth did not bring happiness, because he lacked the peace of mind. The poem leads one to understanding that money is not the only factor which makes people happy. Richness is good for a while, but a large portion of wealth creates the feeling of emptiness in the life of every human being.
It must be admitted that individuals should always cherish the things that they already have. The truly important things in life are impossible to get only with the help of money. The eternal human struggle for wealth makes people forget the real sense of life and makes them rude, arrogant, and hard-hearted. Envy is harmful for the human mental perception, as it is quite an easy way to lose the sense of kindness. In this case, it is the natural human urge to strive for something that other people have. This approach negates the great sense of inner fulfillment, as people stop appreciating what they have already reached. At the same time, one should bear it in mind that money can buy a bed but not a dream, food but not an appetite, education but not mind, jewelry but not beauty, health services but not the strong health.
In Richard Cory’s case, external circumstances could not give a true picture of the man’s internal state. People envied the rich man’s blessed life without even thinking of the real feelings, emotions, and condition of Cory’s soul. It was hard for them to notice Cory’s particular courage generated by despair. Only a man in despair is supposed to take a gun and end his life in such a final and brutal way. As a rule, rich people hide their internal experiences, and their pain is invisible to the others. In these conditions, people who are rich and can get everything they desire, appear to be emotionally unstable and act irrationally, which may later lead to suicide. Such people have no reason to live, as they lose the sense of their lives and consider suicide as the last attempt to control the uncontrollable. It proves that happiness is quite a relative concept as some people need just a little in order to feel happy. One may consider himself/herself happy when having a heap of money, while the other can find happiness in true love or strong health.
Thus, money does not always lead to the real human happiness. Such basic human feelings as love, health, and respect can not also be bought with the help of money. The situation with Richard Cory shows that people have quite different concepts of what true happiness is. In any case, wealth can never replace good friends and family and fill the life with unending peace, joy, true love, and hope. The lack of any of these principal components may easily bring one to the total despair and hopelessness, which can make one commit suicide.