According to Maslow, human beings have a hierarchy of needs. This hierarchy is comprised of the need for self-actualization, the need for esteem, the need for love, the need for safety, and the need for physiological health. There are also many biologists out there who will stand by the idea that humans only truly need food, water, and shelter. Yet, not very often do our social elitists talk about the human need for irony. Not very often, unless of course one surrounds one's self with a room full of poets. In that instance one would probably only hear about the need for irony, along with the need for love, and the need for death. The poems "Richard Cory", by Edwin Arlington Robinson, and "The Necessity for Irony", Eavan Boland are prime examples of the human need for irony. Though the structures of these two poems are completely different, somehow they still manage to convey the same message. In "Richard Cory" and "The Necessity for Irony" the real message is that when one is on a life long search for the perfect and beautiful, all one will find at the end of the search is the irony in searching.
"Richard Cory" can easily be classified as a "story poem". It has a beginning, middle and ending, all telling the story of its main character Richard Cory. It has four stanzas, each containing four lines with an ABAB rhyme scheme. Robinson's poem follows the daily life of Richard Cory from the point of view of the ordinary, working class town's people. The poem starts off describing Cory as the people see him. They put Cory on a pedestal because he is everything they want to be. They see his gentlemanly attitude, his clean cut, his lack of vanity, and rejection of eminence all as attributes not typical of an ordinary person, but a wealthy, happy person. The people of the town also see his money. Perhaps this is the reason for the pedestal, or perhaps it is the fact that Cory is "admirably schooled on every grace" (10), or perhaps it is all these things.