- Enoch Arden
"Enoch Arden" is a
poempublished in 1864 by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, during his tenure as England's Poet Laureate.
The hero of the poem, fisherman turned merchant sailor Enoch Arden, leaves his wife Annie and three children to go to sea with his old captain, who is offering him work. Enoch had lost his job when he fell victim to an accident; in a manner that reflects the hero's masculine view of personal toil and hardship to support his family, Enoch Arden left his family to better serve them as a husband and father. However during his voyage he is shipwrecked and remains lost and missing for ten years.
He finds upon his return from the sea that, after his long absence, his wife, who believed him dead, is married happily to another man, his childhood friend Philip (Annie has known both men since her childhood, thus the rivalry), and has a child by him. Enoch's life remains unfulfilled, with one of his children now dead, and his wife and remaining children now being cared for by his onetime rival.
Tragically Enoch does not ever reveal to his wife and children that he is really alive, and dies of a broken heart.
The theme could be considered a variation on and antithesis to the Classical myth of
Odyseus, who after an absence of ten years at sea found a faithful wife who had been loyally waiting for him.
"Enoch Arden" in popular culture
* A 1911 film, directed by
D. W. Griffithis based on this poem.
* A 1915 film, directed by
Christy Cabanneis based on this poem.
1940film " Too Many Husbands" has a similar theme.
* In the
1940 screwball comedy" My Favorite Wife", the character Ellen Wagstaff Arden ( Irene Dunne) is a comic inversion of Enoch Arden. She returns from sea and boldly reclaims her husband and children. Cary Grant's character is called Nicky Arden. A remakecalled " Something's Got to Give" starring Marilyn Monroeand Dean Martin, and directed by George Cukor, was partly filmed in 1962 before being stopped due to Monroe's studio management problems and her subsequent death, but was shot and released the following year as " Move Over, Darling", with Doris Dayin the Dunne role and James Garnerin the Cary Grant one.
* Enoch Arden is the alias taken by Robert Underhay, a character in
Agatha Christie's novel, " Taken at the Flood".
* The title of this poem is thought to be the origin of the trade name "
Elizabeth Arden", adopted by Canadian Florence Nightingale Grahamfor her cosmetics empire.
* The poem was set to music by
Richard Strauss(Enoch Arden Op. 38). The work requires a narrator and pianist. It has been recorded by Glenn Gouldand Claude Rains. It has also been performed widely in 2007 by Emanuel Ax(piano) and Patrick Stewart(narrator) and recorded for release in September 2007. There is also another version with Michael York (narrator) and John Bell Young(pianist).
* The 1946 film
Tomorrow is Foreveris based on the poem. The film stars Orson Wellesas the Enoch Arden character, and Claudette Colbertas his wife.
* The first Italian edition of Tennyson's Enoch Arden (melodrama by
Richard Strauss, Op. 38) was published in 2004 by Pietro De Luigiin a version, like the original, for piano and voice, on the CD label Rugginenti. The performers are Pietro De Luigi (pianist), and the actress Laura Marinoni(narrator).
* The Tom Hanks film
Cast Awayfrom 2000, could be considered a variation of "Enoch Arden".
* The short story
Enoch Arden's One Night Stands(2004) by Jacob M. Appelfeatures an in-depth discussion of the poem by a pair of would-be lovers.
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