The Conflict Between Reason And Emotion In Arcadia

1438 Words6 Pages
Arcadia by Tom Stoppard brings forth the conflict between reason and emotion first illustrated in Act I. This tautness presents itself within the first scene of the play when student Thomasina Coverly turns away from her studies, sidetracked, and asks her tutor: “Septimus, what is carnal embrace?”(Stoppard 1). After giving a jokingly answer of "carnal embrace" Hodge insists that Thomasina return to her studies. Thomasina returns to the subject, but a few minutes later asks: "is carnal embrace kissing, / and throwing one's arms around Mrs. Chater?" (3). But then Hodge interrupts her, trying to bring her attention back to her studies, at the same time redirecting her attention from his cuckolding with Mrs. Chater. Stoppard intervenes in the past…show more content…
Bernard Nightingale parallels Septimus as he is ambitious, mechanical in learning, and takes interest in academic rankings. Hannah on the other hand is logical, creative, and intellectually superior to Bernard. Hannah states: “this whole Romantic sham, Bernard! It’s what happened to the Enlightenment, isn’t it? A century of intellectual rigour turned in on itself / A mind in chaos suspected of genius. In a setting of cheap thrills and false emotion” (23). Hannah is a logical thinker and is condemnatory towards emotion, a primary perspective of the Romantic Age. “The height of human excellence is in reason NOT emotion. Sidley Park through its history represents the idea of “the decline from thinking to feeling” (23). Arcadia deconstructs the binary oppositions of reason and emotion when depicting Bernard and Septimus. They are both representations of male patriarchy who’s downfall are qualities associated with women of the time: they rely on emotion, and think they are superior to their female counterpart but meanwhile are proved otherwise by their inability to reason, while only focusing on vanity and academic
Open Document