Richard Parker is the name of several people in real life and fiction who became shipwrecked, with some of them subsequently being 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 1846, the Francis Spaight foundered at sea. Apprentice Richard Parker was among the twenty-one drowning victims of that incident, though there were no cases of cannibalism.
- In 1884, the yacht Mignonette sank. Four people survived and drifted in a life boat before one of them, the cabin boy Richard Parker, was killed by the others for food. This led to the R v Dudley and Stephens criminal case. In the film version of Life of Pi a ship named Mignonette is shown docked in Montréal.
Another Richard Parker was involved in the Spithead and Nore mutinies in 1797 and subsequently hanged, but not eaten.
Writer Yann Martel included Richard Parker as both a tiger hunter and a Bengal tiger in his 2001 novel Life of Pi. In the novel, the tiger is set adrift in a lifeboat after a shipwreck with three other animals and a boy, the protagonist. It eats the other animals but not the boy. Incidentally, in Poe's Arthur Gordon Pym, the main character (not Richard Parker) owns a dog named "Tiger".
Playwright Owen Thomas wrote a play called "Richard Parker". The play was a dark comedy exploring the notion of coincidence.
"Mr Parker's Bones, or The Strange, Lamentable, Bloody, and mostly true History of Parker of Pear Tree Green and of his Captain, the Dastardly Cannibal Tom" was a site specific play produced by the Nuffield Theatre in the Old Magistrates Courts in Southampton. The play was an interactive reconstruction in a gothic style of the events and trial surrounding the fate of Richard Parker. The play was written by Russ Tunney and directed by Fran Morley.
- ^ Lindridge, James: Tales of Shipwrecks and Adventures at Sea (W.M. Clark Publishing, 1846)
- ^ Note that there was a second ship, Francis Spaight, which sank in 1835 with cannibalism among the survivors, but the victim's name in that case was Patrick O'Brien, not to be confused with Patrick O'Brian, the uncannibalised author of naval romances such as Master and Commander. (See Simpson, Alfred William Brian (1994). Cannibalism and the Common Law: A Victorian Yachting Tragedy. Hambledon Pr. ISBN 1-85285-200-3., p.128ff.) The 1835 incident was fictionalized by Jack London in a short story.
- ^ Hanson, Neil. (1999). The Custom of the Sea: The Story that Changed British Law. Doubleday. ISBN 978-0-385-60115-3.
- ^ Kaufman, Whitley. (22 March 2008). "Torture and the "distributive justice" theory of self-defense: an assessment.(Essay)". Ethics & International Affairs. 
- ^ The Floating Republic – Dobree and Manwaring (1935) ISBN 0-09-173154-2