Arcadia Essay Research Paper Arcadia

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Arcadia: Essay, Research Paper Arcadia: “the perfect marriage of idea and high comedy?” Throughout Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia, intellectual ideas and themes are explored. Set in two contrasting timeframes, it shows history in the making and history in the discovering – both by groups of mostly highly enlightened individuals. However, mixed in with humour and irony, the play is made lighter, more enjoyable and more accessible to the average audience. Scene seven is the central point of the play. Seemingly the climax, it is chaotic but more significant that way, as it concludes central themes and ties up ‘loose ends’, such as the “Sidley Hermit”. Stoppard shows his competence and understanding of using theatrical methods particularly in this scene. The device of

combining the two time frames is designed to add confusion but also bring the two times [and people] together; showing that even though these individuals were born more than a hundred years apart, they are still very similar: Although fashion and society has changed, human nature has remained the same. Gus is a key character here. Playing the parts of Augustus, Thomasina’s younger brother in the 1800’s, and Gus in the 1900’s; Chloe and Valentine’s brother of the same age [and family]. Although these characters contrast greatly, there is once again a reminder that human nature is basically the same. Maybe the most obvious theme in the book is the acquisition of knowledge. Most characters in the book are in pursuit if this, so the scene is set. There are many examples of

comedy and ideas in this play that are strongly linked. Sexual attraction plays a large part in the comedy sector: Bernard and Chloe, Septimus, Mrs Chater, Lady Croom and even Thomasina and Gus fall prey to it. These feelings often cause awkwardness between characters. This is intended as Stoppard wants to emphasise the point that Chloe makes: “the universe is deterministic alright the only thing going wrong is people fancying people who aren’t supposed to be in that part of the plan.” The idea that attraction is the only factor that ruins a pre-determined universe is clearly one that Stoppard wants to emphasise, that is clear throughout the text, perhaps to make the audience thing and decide for themselves. In 1809 this idea plays a part in causing confusion, betrayal and

maybe even death. Mrs Chater plays a large part, influencing Captain Brice and Septimus [plus Ezra Chater]. Tension between Septimus and Lady Croom also gives another outlet for chaos as tempers are frayed. Even tensions between Thomasina and Septimus indirectly cause the death of Thomasina. In the present day tension between Bernard and Chloe develop causing bedlam when Lady Croom [Chloe's Mother] discovers them in the hermitage. Valentine are suspected to have their sights set on Hannah, and as always Gus ads to the complexity as he also seems to have fallen in love with her. However, the most ironic is the case of Byron. Initially thought by Bernard to have had a duel with Chater over his wife, the full picture is never discovered by the researchers. Again, a tangled web is

woven; Lady Croom liking Byron, but also being fond of Septimus; Byron having sexual liaisons with Mrs Chater, Septimus liking Lady Croom, but also having sexual liaisons with Mrs Chater. Inevitable humour follows. The next idea is art versus science. Most of the characters take sides on this. Bernard sides with art, whereas Valentine takes Science and Maths. Clearly these ideas are a stark contrast. Bernard tells Valentine: “I can’t think of anything more trivial than the speed of light.” He argues: “why does scientific progress matter more than personalities”. This is clearly extreme, as he seems to oppose any sort of scientific discovery or exploration within reason. Bernard believes that the pursuit of “self knowledge” is substantially more important than