Biography of author
Edwin Arlington Robinson (1869–1935), American poet, attended Harvard (1891–1893). At his death, many critics considered Robinson the greatest poet in the United States. He is now best remembered for his short poems characterizing various residents of Tilbury Town, which was based on his hometown, Gardiner, Maine. A quiet, introverted man, Robinson never married and became legendary for his reclusiveness. Although his later poetry reveals a deep consciousness of social issues, an experimentation with symbolism, and an increasingly optimistic view of human destiny, his most lasting work is probably his early verse. "Miniver Cheevy" and "Richard Cory" are among the most famous of his brief, dramatic poems.
The composition of the poem, while the United States economy was still suffering from the severe depression of the Panic of 1893 and during which people often subsisted on day-old bread, alluded to in the poem's prominence of poverty and wealth, and foodstuffs.
The poem "Richard Cory" has multiple themes. One theme is that people should be judged based on who they are, not the items they possess. Another theme is that people or situations aren't always the same as they appear. An additional theme is that money cannot buy happiness.