Arcadia\/Macbeth essay - Jampana 1 Nikhil Jampana Ms Lee AP Literature Period 2 2 December 2016 Happenstance or circumstance The millennia-long

Arcadia/Macbeth essay - Jampana 1 Nikhil Jampana Ms Lee AP...

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Jampana 1Nikhil JampanaMs. LeeAP Literature Period 22 December 2016Happenstance or circumstanceThe millennia-long philosophical debate between free will and determinism is one thatexplores whether people, as rational beings, have the agency to dictate their lives on their ownterms. Free will, as it applies to these two plays, can be defined as the ability to consciouslychoose between different courses of action. Determinism is synonymous to fate – theuncontrollable results of antecedent state of affairs. Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia (Arc.) and WilliamShakespeare’s Macbeth look into these ideas – the former through multiple characters andstandpoints and the latter mainly through a power-hungry despot. Treating these two ideas asforces that can be controlled constructs a workable paradigm for understanding ArcadiaandMacbeth, and the imbalance of either one leads to disarray. The notions of free will anddeterminism are mutually exclusive in theory, but to make healthy decisions, they need to bewoven together to create a soft fabric of reality. The characters in Arcadia and the different subject areas they discuss serve to convey theidea that free will and determinism coexist. When asked about his encounter with Mrs. Chater,Septimus insists that he “was alone with [his] thoughts in the gazebo, when [she] ran [him] to theground” (Arc. 2.6). This is a situation that clearly presents a choice for Septimus – a choice to notengage in an affair. Captivated by Mrs. Chater, he lets the situation play out, without interfering

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