Satire And Irony In Poetry With Emphasis On Richard Cory And The Unknown Citizen.

1640 words - 7 pages

Satire and Irony in PoetryLiterature has been used for decades to satire and criticize society and social mandates. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller criticizes war and morality, Mark Twain used satire to criticize imperialism in King Leopold's Soliloquy, and in Animal Farm George Orwell satires the Russian revolution. In the poem Richard Cory by Erwin Robinson satire is used to convey a message that material possessions cannot buy happiness. Similarly, in the poem The Unknown Citizen by W. H. Auden satire is used to describe a man attempting to live by society's standards yet unable to achieve happiness through it. These two poems question society's very definition of happiness and life fulfillment, they use irony to describe men whose lives fit the definition but are unable to achieve happiness through it.The first stanza in Richard Cory is used to introduce the main character, Richard Cory, as a "gentleman from sole to crown" (Robinson 3) and "clean flavored, and imperially slim" (4). It gives us a sense of a person who is very well liked around his town as well as clean-cut; the usage of the word "crown" gives us an image of a king who is beloved by his people. In the second stanza, it gets more personal, "And he was always human when he talked… he glittered when he walked" (6-8) it reads. It describes a man who is friendly and normal; it humanizes him and allows the reader to connect with Richard. The third stanza gives us more of an insight to his life saying, "and he was rich - yes, richer than a king" (9) which make the townspeople "wish that [they] were in his place" (12). Lastly, the ending stanza reveals that Richard commits suicide, meaning that he was miserable and joyless. Richard Cory had wealth and power yet happiness was out of his reach and he took extreme measures to solve that problem. The poem uses irony to describe a man who, according to public perception, has to be enjoying life but in the end tragically reveals this is not the case. It is a satire on how society judges people based on their money and possessions; how society categorizes people into 'has to be happy' for the haves and 'can't possibly be happy' for the have-nots.The poem The Unknown Citizen is of a similar style to that of Richard Cory and satirizes the same human condition. It is a narrative about a man who is described as a "saint", who served in "the War", and "had every necessary to the Modern Man" (Auden 20). The poem goes on to describe just how normal this man was: he "held the proper opinion" (23), he was fully insured, and had five children which was the "right amount for parents of his generation"(26). Throughout the poem, the writer praises and lifts this unknown man to that of perfection, but the tone changes with the last two lines, "Was he free? Was he happy? The question is absurd / Had anything been wrong, we should certainly have heard" (28-29). It hints that this man, who had all the 'right' things going for him was not really happy, but he...

Find Another Essay On Satire and Irony in Poetry with emphasis on Richard Cory and The Unknown Citizen.

Richard Cory And The Last Duchess

933 words - 4 pages ) Knowing they could never compare to Richard Cory, the town?s people kept working and continued their daily lives. ?So on we worked, and waited for the light, And went with out the meat and cursed the bread.? (886) While on one summer?s night, Richard Cory went home and unexpectedly shot himself in the head to relieve his misery from the world surrounding him. ?And Richard Cory, one calm summer night, Went home and put a bullet through his head.? (886

The Barbie Doll and Richard Cory

689 words - 3 pages should look. Those who feel this way will do all that they can do to look like these models. Many women in our society are anorexic and bulimic, could this be because of society's portrayal of women? I believe so. 	In Richard Cory we stumble upon a different outlook of people in society. Some feel that the glamour and wealth of a person determines how happy with life they are. This is not always true. Just because a person has the money

Compare and Contrast : "The Unknown Citizen" and "The Nobodies"

574 words - 2 pages rain down yesterday, today, tomorrow, or ever," - would be hell. But what is worse, having a life of poverty and bad luck or living a life that is based on a lie? The American "masses" that Auden describes in "The Unknown Citizen" live life having everything a person could want and need, such as "a phonograph, a radio, a car and a Frigidaire." However, just as Auden points out, "Was he free? Was he happy?" How could anyone be truly happy when they have no opinions and conform to the way people think they should live? To me, both of these instances of life are horrible, yet the more important question we are left with is: which would be worse?

Comparing Richard Cory and Miniver Cheevy

977 words - 4 pages about that particular night, it was the same as any other and yet the town’s god/outcast, commits suicide, for apparently no reason. Robinson gives no insight into Cory’s 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

Essay on Satire, Sarcasm, and Irony in Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

717 words - 3 pages Satire, Sarcasm, and Irony in Catch-22       Joseph Heller's narration, dialogue, and characterization in Catch-22 all create a unique perspective of war and our society's bureaucracy. The satire, sarcasm, irony, and general absurdity of the novel provide a view of the irrationality of man's behavior. The horror that is portrayed in Catch-22 is intensified by the humorous way in which it is portrayed. Distortion and exaggeration

Use of Satire and Irony in The Widow of Ephesus and the poem True Love

545 words - 2 pages Use of Satire and Irony in The Widow of Ephesus by Gaius Petronius and the poem “True Love” by Judith Viorst In the story The Widow of Ephesus by Gaius Petronius and the poem “True Love” by Judith Viorst, the authors portray love through the use of satire and irony. They do this though a series of ironic twists, humorous accounts, and life experiences. A satire is a literary work holding up human vices and follies to ridicule

Satire and the Deployment of Irony in A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift

2752 words - 11 pages ways of the Irish and the lack of compassion of the Irish landlords, without which Ireland might perhaps be in a better state to deal with its problems. Thus far, I have dealt with the issue of verbal irony in the given excerpt and how it is used to satirise the Irish people whom Swift is criticizing in his essay, but this is not to say that the essay cannot be viewed as also exemplifying situational irony. This would perhaps depend on how the

Hubble Space Telescope with Emphasis on Instrumentation and Scientific Discoveries

2422 words - 10 pages . The launch of the Hubble Space Telescope on April 24, 1990 further advanced humanity’s knowledge because it permitted human to invent life changing technology to explore and uncovered the mysteries in space. Hubble Space Telescope Missions and Instruments The Hubble Space Telescope was equipped with the most advanced technologies of its time when it was launched into space. However, even with the best technologies NASA had to offer, the space

World War I Poetry with Emphasis on Wilfred Owens

1275 words - 6 pages World War I spanned four years, from June 1914 to June 1918. During this war, technological advances increased the danger for the soldiers who took part in battle. Poison gas and trench warfare transformed World War I into a cesspool of sickness and death. Poetry during World War I provided a way to connect people back home with the horrific lifestyle soldiers had to face on a daily basis. Poets such as Wilfred Owens used vivid imagery, dire

The unknown citizen

873 words - 3 pages , were ostracized. This alarmed a generation of writers who wrote to protest this "new" society. W. H. Auden was among one of these writers. In his poem "The Unknown Citizen", through the use of irony, allusion, tone and word choice, the author expressed his concerns for society that sat passively while its government became more powerful and impersonal, restricting personal freedom and happiness.The speaker of "The Unknown Citizen" is a faceless

The Unknown Citizen

772 words - 3 pages The Unknown Citizen In "The Unknown Citizen," Auden is implying that people are statistics and easily conformed to the normality of society. Throughout the poem, Auden portrays the character as being an all around normal citizen and "one against whom there was no official complaint." In lines 4 and 5, the speaker describes the character as a "saint" and "for in everything he did he served the Greater Community." He served in war, never

Similar Essays

The Unknown Citizen, Richard Cory And I'm Nobody! Who Are You?

885 words - 4 pages outside, Richard Cory is a man who is perfect in every way to the average Joe on the street, but on the inside is a grieving man waiting to have death come take his life so the torture of being followed and adored by everyone can finally end. In the first stanza of Richard Cory, Robinson says, “We people on the pavement looked at him: He was a gentleman from sole to crown”, the people of the town idolize Richard Cory as a man that there is no flaw

Irony In Richard Cory Essay

1077 words - 4 pages surrounding, which Richard Cory lacks. In this poem, the collective “we” speaks as a whole. There is a difference between the “we” and Richard Cory when the “we” as a whole is many people compared to Richard Cory who is alone. In being difference, the people: “Worked and waited for the light/ And went without the meat, and cursed the bread” (13-14). They public finally continued on with their lives, Richard, wealthy as he was, chose to end his life

Richard Cory, Isolation And Irony English Essay

921 words - 4 pages thoughts. A shift in mood from the sad tone a bit earlier to a more hopeful mood and after experiencing such traumatic news about her husband, Mrs. Mallard's wish to deal with her emotions on her own in this time of hardship showed her yearning for independence. " 'She was beginning to recognize this thing that was approaching to possess her, and she was striving to beat it back with her will—as powerless as her two white slender hands would have

The Tone Of Irony In The Unknown Citizen

1997 words - 8 pages author who indirectly comments on the total control of the State over its citizenry. Thus, "The Unknown Citizen" reveals irony. The poem is a bitter satire against forms of government that only want their citizens to conform to the governments' norms. The State recognizes the unknown citizen for his abiding by the government's and carefully examines and records all aspects of his life. In turn, the speaker of the poem, a member of