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Episode 4

15 Minute Drama, Ethan Frome Episode 4 of 5

Duration:
15 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 19 January 2012

by Edith Wharton
Dramatised by Lin Coghlan

Ethan becomes determined
to escape his marriage and runaway
with Mattie.

Ethan Frome ..... Dominic Mafham
Mattie ..... Jessica Raine
Zeena ..... Laurel Lefkow
Edith Wharton .... Fenella Woolgar

Directed by Sally Avens

Ethan Frome is one of Edith Wharton's most enduring and powerful stories.
Set against the cold, grey, bleakness of a New England winter. Ethan Frome scrapes a living from his woodlot whilst trapped in an unhappy marriage with his hypochondriac wife, Zeena. A ray of light enters Ethan's life when his wife's cousin Mattie arrives to help. His life is transformed as he falls in love with Mattie but their fate is determined by their circumstances and the stifling conventions of the time.

Ethan Frome was deemed shocking when first published as it appeared to condone infidelity. What many readers did not know was that many of the novella's themes mirrored real events in the life of Edith Wharton. Her own story is told in an accompanying play 'The Jinx Element' that transmits on Saturday 21st January and explores her own sexless marriage and a passionate affair that begun when she was 47.

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