Robinsons Of Edwin Arlington In Edwin Arlington Robinsons poems, “Richard Cory” and “Miniver Cheevy” the main characters are portrayed as outcasts. Both are shunned from society neither having any real friends. Though these characters have some similarities, the way in which Robinson portrays them is very different. Richard Cory is admired by his peers, where as, Miniver Cheevy is opposite; people look down on him. One man appearing to have everything takes his own life, while the other appearing to have nothing accepts his misery.
For Richard Cory, the saying money cant buy happiness, could not be more appropriate. He is, according to the people of the town, the man with everything. Everyone wished they could be more like him, “he had everything to make us wish that we were in his place”. In contrast Miniver Cheevy, had nothing to be admired for, he had done nothing with his life and yet he longed to have the adoration that Richard Cory had, the respect and almost kingly qualities, “he was a gentleman from sole to crown”. Miniver Cheevy wanted to be the hero that Cory was to the people on the street. “Miniver mourned the ripe renown that made so many a name so fragrant.” “Richard Cory” is told from an outsiders point of view, so that the reader does not gain any more insight into Corys mind then the people on the pavement.
This also adds to the surprise when Cory, seemingly happy, puts a bullet in his head. Richard Cory had no friends the people of the town never really saw him as a person, in fact they never saw him at all, the”people on the pavement looked at him”, never spoke to him, he was only something to admire. He was a god in their eyes, almost holier than thou, “and he was rich-yes, richer than a king” yet He rarely spoke but when he did “he was always human when he talked” suggesting he was not human the rest of the time. “He glittered when he walked” as if he shined, he was different and the people on the pavement “looked at him” to an outsider he would appear to be an untouchable, living in a society that could not or did not know how to accept him. He tried to speak to the people on the pavement however “he fluttered pulses when he said Good Morning”.
The people on the pavement put Richard Cory on a pedestal and therefore could not speak to him. They envied him and hated him they wanted his life so easy, so simple, and so happy. They continued to work and hope that one day they too could be as rich and as happy as Richard Cory, hating him even more everyday they “went without meat”. Then “Richard Cory, one calm summer night, went home and put a bullet through his head”. One calm summer night implies there was nothing special or unusual about that particular night, it was the same as any other and yet the towns god/outcast, commits suicide, for apparently no reason.
Robinson gives no insight into Corys mind, we can only assume he was so miserable that he could not bear to go another day, with the people on the pavement looking at him and hating him more and more. The tone of “Richard Cory” is upbeat until the unexpected end; in contrast “Miniver Cheevy” has a negative tone from the first line, “Miniver Cheevy, child of scorn”. Scorn implies hatred, disdain contempt and misery. “He assailed the seasons” Since season is plural it is not just one season or point in time, this is a constant misery an ongoing Battle within himself. “He wept that he was ever born,” He was born too late he “loved the days of old” and wishes he could have lived in that time, he would have done anything to be a bold warrior and gain the respect and love of his people. “He would have sinned incessantly could he have been one.” He envied those times it was so easy to gain respect, romance and to be the talk of the town, Miniver desperately wanted all of this and yet he had none. “Miniver cursed the commonplace” he hated his surroundings they were so boring to him, there were no exciting battles to watch or be a part of. To Miniver even the dress was boring, though the common suit does hold stature, “Miniver eyed it with loathing” hating it solely because it did not have the same “medieval grace of iron clothing”. He hated the money he desired knowing it was only important in his present life it would not have been important if he was living in the days of old yet he was even more miserable without it.
He could not accept his life and so his only escape was to drink and so he did. In both of these poems Robinson portrays the outcast within society. One seemingly well off and content with his life, the other outwardly miserable. Because the people on the pavement hold Richard Cory in such high esteem he becomes an outcast within their society. Miniver Cheevy has done nothing society has told him to therefore he is societys outcast. Neither of theses characters are accepted in their own life and neither can face another day.
They both have a need to escape the present, they choose to do this in different ways, Richard Cory takes his life, and Miniver Cheevy drinks and pretends he is a knight in medieval times. Robinson effectively takes to characters and puts them into completely different settings and ends the poems with the same concept of misery.