A Critical Analysis Of Tom Stoppard's Arcadia

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The title of Tom Stoppard 's Arcadia, seemingly unconnected with its plot, provides the most important clue for the reading of the play. Arcadia is the neoclassical cultural site par excellence. By choosing to call his play by that name, Stoppard places his work within a rich tradition of artworks. He explores a variety of ideas and themes along different timelines, ranging from history and chaos theory to gardening and sex. Despite this range, the play does not strike the audience as a clutter of unconnected parts. Rather, Stoppard succeeds in unifying the play with an all-inclusive structure. By covering occurrences at three different moments of history on stage, the past (1809 and 1812) and the present (1993), Stoppard offers the audience a scenario impossible outside the imaginary world: the exact description of events happening nearly 200 years apart. The interrelation of the past and the present together with the possibilities…show more content…
However, it is Valentine who interprets Thomasina’s thoughts for the audience. The order within the chaos that Thomasina has observed in her rabbit equation constitutes some hope against the constant move towards disorder. Even though he sees this world still as “doomed,” Valentine tells us that “if this is how it started, perhaps it’s how the next one will come” (77). Past and present thus complement each other in the discussion of chaos theory. Stoppard shows how the different points of time come closer and closer together through the study of chaos. At first Thomasina’s and Valentine’s projects are introduced independently in separate scenes. Valentine’s work on population growth is not immediately identified as research in chaos, but seems quite obscure and inaccessible. Then, with the discovery of Thomasina’s notebook in 1993, it becomes clear both are working on the same
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