Study Questions and Suggested Essay Topics
There is an implicit and persistent conflict between reason and emotion in Arcadia. Which characters might be said to embody reason and which characters might be said to embody emotion? Does this conflict find any resolution in the play?
What is Chaos Theory? How might the structure of Arcadia exemplify Chaos? How is Chaos Theory dealt with or introduced in the play?
Why do you think Tom Stoppard chose to portray two separate time periods in Arcadia? How do the time periods interplay or speak to each other? What commentary results?
Suggested Essay Topics
There are numerous twinnings or couplings of people from one time period to another (ex. Gus and Augustus Coverly) in the play. Pick one or two of these pairs and describe the similarities and differences between the two. Why do you think Stoppard made such pairings?
What kinds of knowledge do the characters in Arcadia seek? What conflicts may exist between different kinds of knowledge?
Compare romantic and classic elements of Arcadia. How does the Garden reflect romanticism? What characteristics do the characters in the play attribute to romanticism and classicism?
What progression does Hannah Jarvis make during the play? Does she have certain classical or romantic qualities? What kind of knowledge does Hannah value at the beginning of the play? What kind of knowledge does she value at the conclusion of the play?
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