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Arthur Dent
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Arthur Dent

Arthur Philip Dent is a fictional character, the hapless protagonist in the comic science fiction series The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. According to some reviewers, Dent resembles a Vonnegut hero.

Along with Ford Prefect, Dent barely escapes the Earth's destruction as it is annihilated to make way for a hyperspace bypass.

Arthur spends the next several years, still wearing his dressing gown, helplessly launched from crisis to crisis while trying to straighten out his lifestyle. He rather enjoys tea, but seems to have trouble obtaining it in the far reaches of the galaxy.

In the radio, LP and television versions of the story Arthur is played by Simon Jones, no relation to Peter Jones, the voice of the Guide. In the upcoming theatrical movie he is played by Martin Freeman.

Warning: Plot details follow.

In all versions of the series, Arthur and Ford eventually find themselves back on Earth - but two million years in the past, marooned with an entire useless third of the Golgafrincham population consisting of hairdressers, account executives, film makers, security guards and telephone sanitisers. Their arrival causes the 'native' population of cavemen to start dying out, with the human race eventually replaced by a shipload of middle management executives, which offers a horrifyingly plausible explanation for much that is wrong with Earth in the twentieth century.

The original radio series and the television series end at this point, although a second radio series was made in which Ford and Arthur are rescued by Ford's cousin Zaphod Beeblebrox and have further adventures, and which ends with Arthur stealing Zaphod's spaceship (which Zaphod had himself stolen) and striking out on his own.

In the novels, Ford and Arthur escape prehistoric earth via an eddy in space-time that deposits them in the middle of Lord's cricket ground at the climax of the final ever match in the Ashes series, days before the destruction of Earth. Having escaped the destruction of Earth once more and survived further adventures, Arthur eventually finds himself once more back on Earth (or rather an alternate Earth found by the Dolphins to save the human race from extinction). Here he falls in love with a woman named Fenchurch and seems set to live happily ever after - at least until the following, and final, novel, Mostly Harmless, in which Earth, and all of its possible permutations and alternate versions, are destroyed once and for all, and everybody dies.

See also: Asteroid 18610 Arthurdent

External link


Other Arthur Dents

A Puritan writer called Arthur Dent wrote a best-selling book called The Plain Man's Pathway to Heaven (first published 1601). This is still available (ISBN 1-877611-69-7). Douglas Adams claimed that the coincidence in the book titles was completely fortuitous.

Arthur Dent was also a nineteenth-century reforming governor of Norwich gaol. His grave can be found in Norwich cemetery.