Richard Parker

life of pi

Parker

Richard Parker is the name of a person and a fictional character who were shipwrecked and subsequently cannibalised by their fellow seamen. In Edgar Allan Poe’s only novel The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, published in 1838, Richard Parker is a mutinous sailor on the whaling ship Grampus. After the ship capsizes in a storm, he and three other survivors draw lots upon Parker’s suggestion to kill one of them to sustain the others. Parker then gets cannibalized.

In 1884, an actual yacht named Mignonette sank. Four people survived, drifted in a life boat, and finally killed one of them, the cabin boy Richard Parker, for food. the survivors were criminally tried in the case of ‘R v Dudley and Stephens (which established a precedent, throughout the common law world, that necessity is no defence against a charge of murder).

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