What are the connotations and implication of the name "Richard Cory," the gentleman?Edwin Arlington Robinson's "Richard Cory"

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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William Shakespeare himself wrote about two of the English kings named Richard in his plays.  Richard I (1157-1199), or Richard the Lionhearted, was a great warrior and military strategist, and was noted for his chivalry and courage.  He was part of the Norman rule, and spoke only French, spending very little time in England. Therefore, not only could he not communicate with the English, he had little contact with any of the people of his kingdom. His son, Richard II of England was a tall, handsome, and intelligent man, who had some type of personality disorder as his misrule led to his tragic downfall. Richard III was involved in the War of the Roses, and was slain at the Battle of Bosworth Field, the last king to lose his life in battle. 

Certainly, there are several parallels among the kings Richard and Richard Cory.  For, Cory is perceived as distant royalty; like the handsome Richard the Lionhearted who knew no English, Cory, too, is perceived as a gentleman, an aristocrat above those who worked, unable to communicate with common people, the people "on the pavement."  In a similar fashion to Richard II, there is the suggestion that something is wrong with Richard Cory as he seems like the perfect gentleman, but he commits suicide one "calm summer night."

Of course, the last name, Corey, is of Irish derivation, suggesting then that the regal Richard, suggestive of English kings is not what he seems to be.  Since there is no surname of Cory, actually, but only Corey, the suggestion here is that Richard Cory is anything but "everything/To make us wish that we were in his place."  Indeed, the name of Richard Cory connotes the wrong characteristics for the tragic man of a lonely and disturbed existence whom no one understands

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