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Arcadia | Study Guide

Tom Stoppard

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Check out this Infographic to learn more about Tom Stoppard's Arcadia. Study visually with character maps, plot summaries, helpful context, and more.

arcadia-tom-stoppardSet at a British country estate, Arcadia explores the connections between literature, Newtons laws, sex, and algebra. As present-day characters use clues to reconstruct events from the early 19th century, scenes shift back and forth from past to presentrevealing how the scientific law of disorder applies to both human interactions and the universe.Past Puzzles,Future EquationsMAIN CHARACTERSSeptimus HodgeAcademic; becomes the hermit of Sidley Park Ezra ChaterMediocre poet ridiculed by Septimus; wife sleeps with Septimus Thomasina CoverlyYoung, curious geniusTom Stoppard1993EnglishPlayAuthorFirst PerformedOriginal LanguageArcadiaDramaHeatRecalls the second law of thermodynamics and the destruction of knowledgeGardenSymbolizes the transition from classical to romantic idealsTortoiseRepresents the theme of time as it appears in both the past (as Plautus) and present (as Lightning)SymbolsHannah JarvisIntellectual; researches the hermit of Sidley ParkBernard NightingaleErroneously believes Lord Byron shot EzraValentine CoverlyMathematician working with HannahPast CharactersPresent-Day CharactersThemesOrder & DisorderThe universal and social spheres move toward chaos, yet patterns emerge that reveal underlying order.TimeThe universe marches steadily toward “heat death”; those in the present continually look to the past. KnowledgeExperiential, scientific, historical, and carnal knowledge all intersect. The orderly thinking of the Enlightenment is contrasted with the wild passion of the Romantic Era. Classical vs.Romantic IdeasArcadiaby the NumbersAverage years in the life span of a giant tortoise100Year Lord Byron published his first volume of poetry, Hours of Idleness1807Year Ezra Chater dies from a monkey bite, a fact that ruins Bernard Nightingales theory~1810Real person on which Thomasina was based—researcher and mathematician Ada Lovelace1British playwright and screenwriter Sir Tom Stoppard is well known for his play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead and his work on the screenplay of Shakespeare in Love. Like these works, Arcadia examines the untold or misunderstood stories behind life, love, and theater.TOM STOPPARDBORN 1937AuthorThomasina Coverly, Act 1, Scene 1ou cannot stir things apart.Sources:, Encyclopaedia Britannica, Independent, National Geographic, The New YorkerCopyright © 2016 Course Hero, Inc.

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