Why did Richard Cory commit suicide in Robinson's poem, "Richard Cory"?

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Richard Cory committed suicide because, despite all the things he had, his life was empty.  The poet's message in the poem is that the traditionally sought-after objectives in life - social stature, money, and material comfort - are not enough to make life meaningful.

Richard Cory appeared to have it all.  Everyone wished "that (they) were in his place".  He was "a gentleman from sole to crown", and he was good looking, "imperial and slim".  Not only that, he was dignified and classy, "quietly arrayed" and "skilled in every grace", and he was nice as well, "human when he talked".  People were in awe of him; like celebrities of our time, "he fluttered pulses when he said "Good morning".  And best of all, he was "richer than a king".

The speakers in the poem are not so fortunate.  They must toil hard just to get by, "work(ing) on and wait(ing) for the light".  Their lives seem like drudgery, nine to five, probably surviving paycheck to paycheck, but they have no choice but to labor on.  They look at Richard Cory with awe and a little envy, hoping one day they can be just like him, because he seems to have everything.

The poet doesn't flat out state why Richard Cory killed himself.  He makes a pretty clear case though, for the position that all those things he has that everyone else wants are not enough.  He is "human", but although people admire and envy him, they do not connect with him on a personal level.  He lives in loneliness and isolation, and, despite his material possessions, his life is not worth living.

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Why did Richard Cory kill himself?

Richard Cory is envied by the common people he walks past every day and seems to have everything a person could ask for. Richard Cory is an immaculately dressed gentleman, who is refined and polite. The narrator comments that Richard Cory seemed to glitter when he walked and describes him as being "richer than a king." Despite Richard Cory's stately appearance and positive reputation as a consummate gentleman, he abruptly commits suicide on a calm summer night. While the narrator never directly states why Richard Cory kills himself, it is implied that he lives an isolated, empty life. Unlike the working class civilians, who the narrator collectively refers to as "we," Richard Cory travels by himself and seems to sorely lack human interaction. Despite having status and material wealth, Richard Cory lacks valuable relationships and opportunities for social interactions, which make life meaningful. While Richard Cory's reasons for committing suicide may be ambiguous, the poet's message is clear. Material wealth and social status are shallow qualities, which do not give life meaning or value.

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Why did Richard Cory kill himself?

It certainly seems that Edward Arlington Robinson's Richard Cory had everything anyone could ever want. He was "richer than a king" and "glittered when he walked." Yet he went home one...

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day and killed himself. Although he was envied by everyone in the town they did not really know him. When they talk about all the things he has, while they have little, the one thing they never mention is anyone else with him. Cory is lonely; his wealth sets him apart from the rest of the people in his town. Their lifestyles are so different that they do not interact. They are "on the pavement" walking while he is in a fine carriage. There are other interpretations for the reasons both why Cory is so isolated and why he killed himself (see the second link attached below) but the lack of real human interaction is most likely.

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