Cloud Atlas Wiki
Previous Life: Cabin Boy
Robert Frobisher
Appears Letters from Zedelghem
Referenced Half-Lives: The First Luisa Rey Mystery
Relationships Rufus Sixsmith, lover
Jocasta Ayrs, lover
Cloud-Atlas Robert-Frobisher 001
Appears ?Robert's Letters
Referenced Luisa's Mystery
Actor Ben Whishaw?
Relationships Rufus Sixsmith, lover
Jocasta Ayrs, lover

Robert Frobisher, a young Englishman in 1931, is the author of the Letters from Zedelghem.


Robert Frobisher, a young, penniless, bisexual musician, has been disowned by his father, kicked out of the University, and has an army of creditors eager to find him. Although in love with Rufus Sixsmith, he "escapes" to Edinburgh, Scotland where in a letter to Rufus explains that he intends to persuade one of the "musical greats"  an aging composer, Vyvyan Ayrs, who is dying of syphilis, and nearly blind, to allow him to become his amanuensis. Frobisher spends six months at Ayrs' home, Chateau Zedelghem, where he writes long letters to his lover, Rufus Sixsmith, becomes obsessed with the Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing (even though half of the book is missing) and where he becomes intimately acquainted with Ayrs' wife, Jocasta.

A brilliant piano composer, and excelling in his work with Ayrs, Robert begins to work on his own composition on the side, calling it the Cloud Atlas Sextet. Ayrs overhears the piece, and realizes he had dreamt of it, and figures that he had influenced Robert to compose it. Frobisher admits that he had composed it thinking of him and Ayrs meeting over and over throughout time. Frobisher then attempts to become romantic with Ayrs, who rejects his advances cruelly. Embarassed, Frobisher explains that he intends to leave the next morning. Ayrs forbids this, and brings forth the many scandalous indiscretions in Frobishers past, and brings to Frobishers attention that he has the power to make sure no one would ever hire him, and ultimately never hear the Sextet. Blackmailing him to make him stay, and intending to take the credit for the Sextet, Frobisher plans his escape and acquires Ayrs gun. While packing up to leave, Ayrs walks in, and after failing to make him stay, attempts to steal the Cloud Atlas Sextet. Frobisher, to Ayrs surprise, pulls out the previously stolen gun, and after Ayrs claims he is too much of a coward to shoot, Frobisher pulls the trigger only to wound Ayrs, and leaves the Chateau.

Frobisher become a wanted fugitive and hides out at an hotel, on the third floor. The hotel manager catches on of his wanted status by the authorities, and not having enough money to bribe him, Frobisher ultimately has to give away his waistcoat, given to him by Sixsmith. Still writing to Sixsmith, he tells him that every morning he climbs the steps of the Scott Monument, and all becomes clear to him. Sixsmith sets out to meet Frobisher, going to the Scott Monument in hopes of seeing him, where Robert spots him and hides from Rufus. Later on he explains in his final letter that  "I don't believe I've ever seen anything more beautiful" and had watched him until he gave up and left. Robert also explains the frenzy in which he finished the Sextet after not sleeping or eating for weeks, and how that morning he enjoyed his last sunrise, and cigarette. Sixsmith, searching for Frobisher, enters the hotel in which Frobisher is staying, and seeing his waistcoat under the innkeepers coat, he realizes he is at the right place, and begins to run up the stairs. Meanwhile, Frobisher finishes this final letter, telling Sixsmith that "there is another world waiting" for both him and Sixsmith, and places it with the Sextet on his writing desk. He walks into the tub with Ayrs' pistol and before Sixsmith can reach him, shoots himself.


"We do not stay dead long."
—Robert Frobisher
"People are complicated."
—Robert Frobisher
"Science devises ever bloodier means of war until humanity’s powers of destruction overcome our powers of creation and our civilisation drives itself to extinction."
—Robert Frobisher

"A half-read book, is after all a half-finished love affair."- Robert Frobisher

"People pontificate suicide is a coward's act... Couldn't be further from truth"

- Robert Frobisher

"At this point in my life, all I know Sixsmith, is that this world spins from the same unseen forces that twist our hearts."
—Robert Frobisher

"I believe there is another world waiting for us Sixthsmith. A better world. And I'll be waiting for you there. "

- Robert Frobisher 

Film portrayal[]

In the film adaptation, Robert Frobisher is portrayed by actor Ben Whishaw.

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