Edwin Arlington Robinson, a heavy satirist, often used the theme of illusion as a contrast to the reality of a situation. In doing this, he attempted to create a sense of inescapable truth in which his subjects were entangled. This was done to show how unforgiving industrialism, and perhaps the world in general, really was. His work is considered starkly realistic, with his characters having either fallen into a vicious hole, been taken out by life, or being too simple, he shows the failures of many of the people who fall subject to his scrutiny. Robinson uses the contrasted theme of illusion vs. reality to show the reality in the seemingly happy.
E.A. Robinson uses this particular technique, illusion covering the reality, to nearly satirize the public for not seeing the truth of corruption within things that are so evidently facades. Within the period of his writing, there were huge amounts of corruption. An example of this is made evident by large groups of corporations, called trusts, controlling the market. Interpreted under this context the works of E.A. Robinson seem to make more sense from a cynical and satirical standpoint - which thus makes one conclude that the reality of the situation is different than the illusion of progress.
An extreme example of this satire is within the poem "Richard Cory". During the first three stanzas, Richard Cory is described as having "glittered when he walked," and being "everything," so as to insight a tinge of envy from those around him. Ironically, the last stanza changes all of this. It begins by presenting those around him as poor and, some may argue, under the boot of industrialism. The final line seals what seems to be, at first glance, an endorsement of a leading citizen - "And Richard Cory, one calm summer night, / Went home and put a bullet through his head.".
E.A. Robinson also attacks the fantastic illusions of the past - the romanticized ages of old such as King Arthur's time, and the rule of the Medici.