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Simon & Garfunkel - Richard Cory - Lyrics Meaning

"Richard Cory," which appears on Simon & Garfunkel's second album Sounds of Silence, is based off a poem of the same name by American poet Edwin Arlington Robinson. Both tell the story of a wealthy gentleman named Richard Cory through the eyes of a poor man who lives in the same town. In the song, the narrator works in a factory owned by Richard Cory. The working class citizens of the town idolize Cory, remarking that he has "everything a man could want: power, grace, and style." Cory is educated, well-mannered, and charitable. In the eyes of others, it seems "he surely must be happy with everything he's got." At the end of the poem and song, however, Richard Cory commits suicide by putting "a bullet through his head." Both pieces warn their audiences: money does not bring happiness. Money often brings isolation. There are two ironic elements to the song. The first, quite simply, is that a man who appears so well off would kill himself because he is, in fact, extremely unhappy. The second is that, in spite of knowing Richard Cory's tragic fate, the narrator continues to say "I wish that I could be Richard Cory."

Meanings of other songs by Simon & Garfunkel:
The Sounds of Silence