What features of the language account for the intensity of the last stanza in "Richard Cory".What features of the language account for the intensity of the last stanza? For instance,...

What features of the language account for the intensity of the last stanza in "Richard Cory".

What features of the language account for the intensity of the last stanza? For instance, what about the syntax of the first two lines of the stanza? The shift in perspective? Devices of sound, (such as consonance).

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jilllessa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is one of my favorite poets and poems.  There several features of the language of the poem that contribute to the intensity of the last stanza.  First as you mention the syntax of the first three lines of the poem which each have a break in the middle contrasts starkly with the last line which flows from Cory's arrival home and into the bullet.  The flow of the last line makes the words seem even more unexpected and out of place. 

Another feature of the language of the poem that accentuates the intensity is the use of both alliteration and assonance with the w's of the first two lines: "worked....waited....went without." and the soft vowels of a "calm summer night"  create a soothing flow of words that starkly contrasts the image of a violent suicide.

A third feature of the stanza intensifying the final image is the shift in perspective from the workers who are unhappy to Richard Cory who has everything.  One would expect it to be a worker who would commit suicide, not the rich, elegant man that has been described.  You expect  to hear that Richard Cory went home and had a martini, or a dinner, not a bullet.  This unexpected ending intensifies its effect.

I hope this helps.  I have included links to an article here at enotes on the poem, a copy of the poem itself, and a page describing poetic devices.