Richard Cory's destiny is obviously extreme; few people are driven to commit suicide, and the speaker emphasizes throughout the poem that Cory has every reason to want to live. What he does not assert is that Cory is happy or that anyone thinks he is. His isolation is evident throughout the poem. The "people on the pavement" in the first stanza look at him but do not talk to him. The speaker's conclusion about Cory is particularly telling:
In fine, we thought that he was everything
To make us wish that we were in his place.
The speaker says that the people around Cory thought that he had all the characteristics that, theoretically, would lead them to wish to change places with him.
Cory's characteristics are extreme: he is extremely rich, extremely privileged, and extremely gracious and elegant. It also appears that he is extremely lonely, and this image of an isolated figure who is admired as a curiosity but never embraced as a friend gives the poem its pervading sense of melancholy. When Simon and Garfunkel adapted this poem into a song, they added a chorus
with the words "I wish that I could be Richard Cory," but this is just what the speaker of Robinson's poem never says or suggests.