A Noise Within, L.A.'s Acclaimed Classical Repertory Theatre Company, presents . Arcadia by Tom Stoppard. September 4 - November 20, Directed by. Arcadia. Context Tom Stoppard was born in Zlin, Czechoslovakia (now Gottwaldov, Czech Republic) on July 3, Stoppard's father, Eugene Straussler, was. Nov 2, Like other plays by Tom Stoppard, Arcadia is an uproarious comedy with unsettling undercur- rents. In this case, the undercurrents find their.
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Other plays by Tom Stoppard published by Samuel French Ltd. АСТІ. SCENE 1. A room on the garden front of a very large country house in Derbyshire in. TOM STOPPARD. Arcadia. ACT ONE. SCENE ONE. A room on the garden front of a very large country house in Derbyshire in April. Nowadays, the house . Arcadia is a play by Tom Stoppard concerning the relationship between past and present, .. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 December
Bernard has little interest in the Croom family besides an opportunity to bring him recognition. Arcadia is a test of the algorithm forming a fractal form of a play that attempts to imitate nature through the realities of mathematics. The play shifts back to the early nineteenth century. Hugo Leonardo. Hannah, like Thomasina, distinguishes and separates love from academic progress. The nineteenth century tale that of Thomasina and Septimus is reminiscent of a classic romantic comedy of errorsinvolving the requisite cuckolds, unrequited love, desperate lovers, affairs, word plays and so on.
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The theme of love vs. Thomasina interrupts her lesson with Septimus by asking what carnal knowledge is. Sexual knowledge always acts in conflict with intellectual knowledge, and here it gets in the way of the lesson. Thomasina also remarks on the conflict between emotion and intellect in her history lesson. Her question is prompted by Septimus himself who was found having sex with Mrs. Chater in the gazebo the day before. Thomasina describes Cleopatra as making "noodles of our sex" because Cleopatra was weakened by love.
Thomasina heralds Queen Elizabeth who would not have been tempted by love to give away land or power. She believes, as does Thomasina, that romantic inclinations would destroy or distract her from her work. Hannah refuses warmth or emotion: Nonetheless, Hannah, like Thomasina, Septimus, and Gus all waltz at the conclusion of the play.
Hannah cannot refuse emotion or the bashful Gus by the end of the play and is drawn into an uncomfortable and uneasy dance. The conflict between emotion and intellect is resolved because Hannah suddenly understands that the two are inseparable. Hannah is unlike Thomasina, who unconsciously understands this, driven forcefully by the mystery of both.
The Mystery of Sex. Sex remains the final mystery of Arcadia. Septimus, in the conclusion of the play, reveals the final sadness and emptiness of an academic life: As if knowing his own fate, Septimus embraces and kisses Thomasina in earnest, finally indulging in the mystery of his attraction and love. Septimus will not go to Thomasina's room, although she asks him, but he is restrained for a reason that remains unknown. Septimus realizes the ultimately unfulfilling nature of academic progress but will only tragically experience the fulfilling nature of love for a brief moment in a waltz and kiss with Thomasina.
In the same manner, Hannah Jarvis submits to a dance with Gus. She, like Septimus, has solved her mystery and now looks to Gus for fulfillment and new mysteries. The Path of Knowledge. Septimus describes to Thomasina the path of knowledge, a humanity that drops knowledge and learning as it picks up new ideas and developments.
Septimus tells Thomasina she should not be upset at the loss of the library of Alexandria because such discoveries will be had again, in. This story is ironic to the fate of Thomasina's own discoveries that aren't unearthed until by Valentine. Thomasina's discoveries are made again: Arcadia works as a description of humanity's own progression of knowledge. While Thomasina and Septimus make new discoveries, Hannah and Valentine work to find their discoveries. The work of Thomasina and Septimus is lost but later found again.
Motifs Fire. Fire takes on multiple meanings in the play, but it most strongly symbolizes death and the eventual and inevitable end of the human species. Like Thomasina's diagram of heat exchange, as exemplified by Mr.
Noakes's steam engine, all will eventually end. As the law of thermodynamics prescribes, we will all eventually burn up. Fire is destruction and death happening over and over again. Septimus burns Lord Byron's letter, unread, a rare and valuable piece of historical literature. Fire is also sexual, the burn that keeps bodies in motion.
Septimus observes that Mrs. Chater is in a state of "tropical humidity as would grown orchids in her drawers in January". Thomasina and Valentine wish to describe and analyze the universal laws of heat and destruction. The final scene is the greatest culmination of the fire motif.
While Valentine and Hannah discuss the meaning of Thomasina's heat-exchange diagram, Thomasina holds the flame that will eventually cause her own destruction.
As Thomasina and Septimus waltz, the audience is aware of Thomasina's fate. We can see the workings and progress of the heat diagram before our eyes.
Sex persists as the anti-academic driving force in Arcadia. Academic knowledge is never separated far from carnal knowledgeacademic knowledge somehow equating sexual prowess. For example, when Bernard makes his great discovery he immediately propositions Hannah, indicating how academic knowledge gives Bernard sexual confidence. Sex is also equated with heat, making it the eventual objective and need of all humans. The relationship between Thomasina's theory of heat exchange and sex is clearly articulated by Chloe who tells Valentine that Newton forgot to account for sex in his deterministic universe.
Heat, like sex, is unchangeable, persistent, and random. Mathematics and "Simple English Algebra" is the foundation of Arcadia. The mysteries of math reveal greater truths about humanity and the family as a whole. Mathematics is also a source of pride within the play. Valentine, as a chaos mathematician himself, is reluctant to share Thomasina's theory and fractal with Hannah.
Thomasina's algebra and geometry lessons culminate into her genius understanding of the laws of thermodynamics and chaos theory. The laws of thermodynamics dictate the fate of all the characters on stage, and the realization of such fate eventually conclude the play most tragically, Thomasina's own ironic death by fire.
Septimus and Thomasina, along with Gus and Hannah, succumb to the law of thermodynamics by coming together in a waltz. The couples know their mathematical, unstoppable fate and embrace each other in spite of it. The Gardens of Sidley Park symbolize the transformation and transition between romanticism and classicism. Noakes wishes to alter the gardens into the picturesque and thoroughly romantic style and means to tear out the gazebo in favor of a hermitage and drain the lake with a newly improved steam engine.
Lady Croom accuses Mr. Chater points out , and The Mysteries of Udolpho. Noakes means to transform the green, lush perfect Englishman's garden into an "eruption of gloomy forest and towering crag," Lady Croom describes it as a haunt of "hobgoblins.
The garden represents romanticism, for Hannah a decline from thinking to emotion, and the need for "false emotion" and "cheap thrills. The modern day characters wear the Regency Clothes or clothes that would be worn to a fancy dress ball in Thomasina's time. Regency Clothes symbolize high society and privilege. The dress not only links the two generations and time periods, but it reveals the hay day of the English aristocratic family.
Chloe, Gus, and Valentine wear the outfits to have their pictures taken and dress for the annual dance. The dress reestablishes their power as a family and role in the community, seemingly diminished in modern times. The Primer is the symbol of learning and academia.
Thomasina is the first to use the primer, which once belonged to Septimus; however, at the conclusion of the play, Septimus has taken back his primer. Septimus's use of his the primer once again symbolizes his return to being a student; this time he is a student of Thomasina, who has surpassed his knowledge and teachings.
The house is surrounded by beautiful, traditional park-like landscape, which is lush and green. Thomasina, a curious and rather impetuous girl of thirteen, is the student of Septimus, who is twenty-two. Each is working on separate problems when Thomasina asks Septimus what "carnal embrace" might be.
Thomasina overheard Jellaby, a servant at the estate, telling the cook that Mrs. Chater, wife of the poet Ezra Chater, had been found in carnal embrace in the gazebo. Jellaby had heard the story from Mr.
Noakes, gardener of the estate, who had actually witnessed the event. Septimus tells Thomasina that the act of "carnal embrace" is throwing ones arms around a side of beef. Thomasina, quite perceptive, tells Septimus that a gazebo is not a "meat larder" and asks if carnal embrace is kissing. Thomasina demands that Septimus tells her the truth, and so Septimus gives her the true scientific meaning: Uncomfortable with this disclosure, Septimus quickly returns to work.
Thomasina pesters Septimus to tell her more about sexual intercourse. After Jellaby leaves, Thomasina asks Septimus if he thinks it is odd that when one stirs jam in his or her rice pudding into swirls in one direction, the jam will not come together again if they swirl the pudding in the opposite direction. Thomasina's question leads to a discussion about Newton's Law of Motion. Chater suddenly swings the door to the room open. Septimus bids Thomasina to leave the room.
Chater accuses Septimus of "insulting" his wife in the gazebo. Septimus tells Chater that he is wrong and that he made love to Mrs. Chater in the gazebo the day before at Mrs. Chater's request. Chater challenges Septimus to a duel, but Septimus declines. Septimus tells Chater that he cannot shoot him because there are only two or three first rank poets living, Chater apparently one of them. Septimus distracts Mr.
Chater by complementing him on his new poem, "The Couch of Eros," and tells Chater he will write a good review of the work. Chater, flattered, forgives Septimus for his indiscretion and even offers to sign Septimus's copy of "The Couch of Eros. The sound of hunting fire outside the window precedes Lady Croom's exit. Lady Croom, in the style of a grand general, orders Noakes, Brice, and Chater to follow her.
As Mr. Chater leaves, he shakes Septimus's hand in friendship. Thomasina and Septimus are again alone. Thomasina remarks that she has grown up with the sound of hunting guns and that her.
Thomasina delivers a secret note to Septimus from Mrs. It has been suggested that one of Tom Stoppard's favorite ideas is "all men desire to know. The characters in Arcadia seek three different sorts of knowledge: The play opens with the problem quite literally of mathematical knowledge.
Septimus has given Thomasina the challenge of finding a proof for Fermat's Last Theorem more to keep her occupied than in hopes of her solving it. At the time the play was written Fermat's Last Theorem was, indeed, a great mathematical task. Thomasina proposes her own original solution to the theorem: Fermat's marginal note was an eternally tormenting joke to drive posterity mad.
It is ironic that in real life, shortly after the play opened, Andrew Wiles announced a proof of Fermat's theorem that has, after subsequent amendments, been accepted as correct. But the quest for mathematical knowledge persists within the play. Thomasina is the genius girl who can miraculously understand the foundations of thermodynamics and chaos theory a century before their formal definition.
Thomasina's algebra lesson is interrupted by her own search for another type of knowledge. Thomasina asks Septimus what "carnal embrace" is. Septimus's characteristically witty reply, that it is the act of throwing one's arms around a side of beef, does not deter Thomasina from her desire to know about sex. Chloe, Thomasina's modern counterpart, has less desire for formal, mathematical, or book knowledge but craves sexual knowledge.
On the other hand, for the modern hormonal Chloe, sex is real sex; Chloe persuades Bernard to go up into the library stacks with her for what may be real sex. Until Thomasina is sixteen, she only desires the waltz and kiss. While Thomasina asks Septimus to come to her room after they waltz in the conclusion of the book, he refuses, and she is content. Thomasina studies history with disdain and boredom.
As she tells Septimus, she is bored with and hates Cleopatra. Thomasina abhors Cleopatra's weakness for men and sex, as she complains Cleopatra makes "noodles of our sex.
Thomasina, herself, seeks sexual knowledge and mathematical knowledge but does not sacrifice one for the other.
Historical knowledge is also sought after more urgently in the present. In scenes depicting modern-day Sidley Park, historical knowledge is rewarded by great fame and possibly sexual prowess. The modern characters value historical knowledge foremost. Bernard, of course, lusts after historical knowledge most of all, intent on receiving any and all fame it may bring. Hannah, with more reserve, also looks among the books of Sidley Park for a glimpse into the past and writes bestsellers on her findings.
The intertwining past and present of Sidley Park provides commentary on the progression of knowledge or quest for knowledge in modern times. The modern day characters are concerned with the workings and findings of the past, while Thomasina and Septimus work to make new.
The quest of all of the scholars thus forms a sort of loop; what is undervalued in one generation is greatly revered in the next.
The state of inquiry revolves and evolves from an interest in the future to that of the past. And, like Septimus's apt description of humanity's quest for knowledge, the modern day continues to pick up what has been lost in the past, while simultaneously finding new ideas and formulas.
Hannah, a writer in her thirties, sits and leafs through the pages of Mr. Noakes's sketchbook. Chloe, daughter of the home, and Bernard, a visitor, enter from another doorway.
The two enter a room that has been cleared out because the family is hosting a dance for the district. At the dance there is generally much drunkenness, and the room, en route to the nearest toilet, has been cleared out to avoid thievery and vomit.
Bernard has come to talk with Hannah about the estate, and Chloe goes to look for her. Gus, the mute oddity of the estate, looks through the doorway from which Chloe exited but quickly goes away.
Valentine, the son of the estate, next enters the room and exits by the door at the opposite end of the room. He is apparently looking for an available toilet. Valentine returns to the room and finally takes notice of Bernard.
Bernard introduces himself to the distracted Valentine who vaguely remembers talking to Bernard on the phone the day before. Valentine finds his tortoise, Lightning, under the bed.
Valentine leaves to take the tortoise on his run. Hannah finally enters.
Chloe has told Hannah that Bernard's last name is Peacock rather than Nightingale and addresses him as "Mr. Hannah is annoyed at Bernard's gloating and threatens to leave, but Bernard then mentions Ezra Chater. Hannah tells Bernard that she hasn't found anything on Chater in the records of Sidley Park. Hannah is looking for information on the Sidley Hermit, whose death she attributes to the breakdown of the romantic imagination. Noakes, the gardener of Sidley Park, actually built a hermitage, specifically as part of the landscape of the estate.
The hermit was added as a piece of landscape, just as a pottery gnome. When the hermit died, the hermitage was found filled with papers with mysterious proofs written about the end of the world. Hannah thinks that this hermit's work and life is the perfect symbol of the Romantic Period, a century of rigorous intellectualism that turned on itself.
Chloe walks through the room and addresses Bernard by his real name, Mr. Hannah now knows Bernard's true identity, the academic who criticized her work in the Observer. Hannah is furious, and Bernard has difficulty keeping her in the room. Inside the book there are three documents that have led Bernard to believe Lord Byron killed Chater in a duel. Bernard believes that Lord Byron slept with Chater's wife, Chater challenged Byron to a duel, and Byron ended up killing Chater in the duel.
Because Lord Byron left the United States in , soon after Chater published his last known work, Bernard assumes he was fleeing the murder. Hannah distrusts. She assures Bernard that she has found no evidence of Lord Byron at the estate, and she believes he has never been there.
Through a bit more conversation it is revealed that Septimus Hodge and Lord Byron went to Trinity together. Bernard believes that this fact is proof of Byron's presence at the estate. Chloe enters as Bernard leaves triumphantly. Chloe tells Hannah that her brother, Gus, is in love with Hannah.
Gus, of course, is the mute and, apparently, brilliant brother who wanders in and out of the scenes. Gus enters and gives an apple to Hannah. Arcadia, by intertwining two stories of the past and present of the same family, begs a particular question: The stories are strictly separate plots, settings and worlds; however, there persists the same question of identity for all characters.
The sameness between characters is revealed through the pairing and intertwining of people and objects on stage.
While the stories progress separately, each story has a distinct presence in the other until the final conclusion of the play, where the stories fully overlap and the characters seemingly talk to one another. The nineteenth century tale that of Thomasina and Septimus is reminiscent of a classic romantic comedy of errorsinvolving the requisite cuckolds, unrequited love, desperate lovers, affairs, word plays and so on. Thomasina's social world has little consequence and is limited to the affairs of Sidley Park.
The modern tale that of Hannah and Bernard reveals a broken comedy of errorsthe dysfunctional and broken aristocratic family whose only source of excitement is a Regency ball for the community. The modern aristocratic society is one that must look to the past for prestige and entertainment. Nonetheless, both societies and peoples are seeking themselves and the knowledge of the future and present. The play doubles time and characters to reveal constant truths between past and present.
Valentine, the son of the absent modern Crooms and math scholar lacking significant discovery is paired with Septimus Hodge, former scholar and hermit of Sidley Park who works equally hard with similarly little result.
The two share identical turtles, Plautus and Lightning, that have the same identity and value to their owners. Like the identical turtle props or taxidermy, the actor of Gus and Augustus Coverly is the same. The young boy of both generations has changed little, besides the fact that Gus is mute, while Augustus is tirelessly loud. Thomasina and Chloe are another pair. The "action of bodies in heat" argued for by Thomasina manifests in Chloe's complete concern with the heat and seduction of Bernard.
Like Thomasina's discovery of the second law of thermodynamics, Chloe adds her own idea to the mix: Chloe believes that the randomness of sexual attraction keeps the world from a deterministic end. Like her counterpart, Thomasina, Chloe asks if she is the "first person to think of this. Chatera woman obsessed with making heat with anyone at anytime. Chloe seems to know the proof of her idea by her own actions and attraction to the foppish scholar, Bernard.
The second law of thermodynamics, while possibly not fully understood by either girl, is simultaneously an answer and a dilemma. The death of Thomasina by fire is certainly symbolic of this truth. Strangely enough, the modern tale, besides the presence of Chloe, is much lacking in heat, which may explain the lack of introspection by either Bernard or Hannah.
Hannah, like Thomasina, distinguishes and separates love from academic progress.
Hannah continually denies and refuses love or affection from Valentine or Bernard. Bernard, while failing to understand academic or real truth, has a good understanding of self. Bernard suggests to Hannah that, if she had understood herself better, she would have not written her first book about Caroline Lamb. Chloe, who seems to understand herself better than either Hannah or Bernard, turns psychologist to Hannah, saying, "You've been deeply wounded in the past, haven't you?
Chater rules the ability for one to find self- knowledge within Arcadia. In the past and in the present, if one cannot understand the randomness of love and canal knowledge, he or she will certainly fail to understand him or herself.
Septimus is reading a letter that has just arrived, and Jellaby waits. Chater's book, and sheets of notes that Septimus has taken for the review.
Like Valentine, Septimus also has a tortoise, Plautus, that currently acts as a paperweight. When Septimus finishes the letter, he folds the paper and puts it in the leaves of The Couch of Eros. Thomasina is translating a paper in Latin and is having some difficulty. Thomasina tells Septimus that her mother is in love with Lord Byron. Thomasina saw Lord Byron and her mother in the Gazebo laughing together.
Thomasina thinks that Septimus is jealous of his friend, Lord Byron. Septimus hands Thomasina her corrected mathematics lesson book, and she is upset that Septimus gave her an "Alpha minus" A- on her problems. Thomasina wants to create the kind of equations that make naturean equation to make a flower rather than a circle, cone, or square.
Septimus attempts to steer Thomasina back to the history of Cleopatra, but Thomasina tells him she hates Cleopatra. Thomasina hates Cleopatra because she gave away things out of love and weakness. Septimus takes the Latin paper Thomasina has been struggling with and reads it easily. Thomasina breaks into tears, accuses Septimus of cheating and runs out of the room. Chater, who stands behind Brice. Chater tells Septimus to address Brice when Chater wants to speak with him Chater. Septimus then talks to Brice as if he is Chater, which eventually infuriates Brice.
Lady Croom enters the room and tells Chater that Lord Byron would like a copy of his book. Lady Croom takes The Couch of Eros, which now has three letters in it, and returns to the garden. Hannah is reading aloud to Valentine, who is holding Lightning, the tortoise. Valentine attempts to explain the significance of iteration to Hannah with little luck.
Valentine tells Hannah that if each algorithm fed into itself a thousand times each dot would land in an unexpected place. In other words, the unpredictable results of iteration are like the unpredictability of nature. Bernard enters with a copy of English Bards and Scotch Reviewers.
Inside the book there is a penciled superscription, apparently written by Byron, that mentions Chater and "Eros. Valentine interjects that Byron did, indeed, come to Sidley ParkValentine has seen a record of him in the game book.
Valentine asks Hannah if he can keep Thomasina's books so he can work out a diagram of her equations. Hannah asks why no one tried Iteration or feedback before. Valentine explains that there wasn't enough time or pencils to do the equations. Without an electronic calculator, it would have been impossible for Thomasina to continue the equations indefinitely. One of the central conflicts in Arcadia is the struggle between intellect and emotion.
Although by the Chater Proposal, all seems charged by the random and unexpected movement of bodies in heat, there is an academic and intellectual thrust and persistence within the work to solve mathematical and historical mysteries. As in the case of Cleopatra, aptly pointed out by Thomasina, the random motion of bodies or love is rival to the pursuit of intellectual knowledge and progress.
It would seem that intellectual knowledge and sexual or romantic knowledge cannot coexist; however at the conclusion of the play the audience is left with a shaky compromise. This compromise is forged carefully. The champion of intellectual knowledge is Hannah Jarvis, who, as the scholar of modern day Sidley Park, wrote her first novel about injustice inflicted on Lady Caroline Lamb by Lord Byron through the couple's relationship.
Hannah's purpose at Sidley Park is to write a book that essentially criticizes romanticism and heralds classicism. Hannah believes that the life of the hermit of Sidley Park, the "genius of the place" but also "an idiot in the landscape" is an apt metaphor for the downfall of romanticism. Hannah refuses to believe that Lord Byron would kill Ezra Chater because of "gut instinct.
Septimus escaped into the hermitage out of lost love, destined and determined to finally prove Thomasina's theory, not because of false knowledge or wasted work. Septimus, like Thomasina, is unable to solve the proof because he lacks the proper technology and, even in a life's work, cannot finish the problem.
Hannah rejects sexual knowledge in all forms; she won't be photographed or submit to a kiss, she refuses Valentine, and brushes off Gus's flirtation. Returning to , we learn that the duel never occurred. Chater serving as the expedition's botanist and Mrs. Chater as the captain's secret paramour. Lord Byron has also left the country.
Septimus has gone rabbit hunting for Thomasina, who favours rabbit pie ; he returns to find Lady Croom searching for him.
She has found two letters Septimus wrote in case he should die in the duel: Lady Croom invites Septimus to an amorous rendezvous. The final scene takes place in both and the present, the actions running concurrently. Some present-day characters are in fancy dress for a party, so that both casts appear similarly attired. Chloe reads a newspaper report on the Byron murder theory and then talks about determinism with Valentine, echoing the discussion between Septimus and Thomasina.
Chloe, however, believes that sex is the force disrupting the universe's ordered plan. Valentine, using his computer to extrapolate Thomasina's ideas, relates them to the concept of entropy ; he wonders whether Thomasina or Septimus was the genius behind the theories.
Hannah and Valentine mention that Thomasina died in a fire on the eve of her seventeenth birthday. Meanwhile, Thomasina asks Septimus to teach her to dance, for her forthcoming birthday party.
Lady Croom enters, complaining to Noakes about the noise of his steam engine ; Thomasina notes that the machine obeys the laws of entropy which have not yet been formalized , which describe the universe as winding down.
In the present, Bernard arrives and is met by Hannah, who has found a letter detailing the facts of Chater's death — this discovery totally discredits his theory and vindicates Lord Byron's reputation. While Septimus awaits appropriate music for Thomasina's dance lesson, he examines the sketch she made to illustrate the irreversibility of heat ; his action mirrors that of Hannah and Valentine, who also pondered the same diagram. Bernard is caught in a compromising position with Chloe, and is asked to depart.
Eventually a waltz starts, and Septimus dances with Thomasina, their relationship increasingly complicated by hints of romance. Gus Valentine and Chloe's younger brother, who has been silent for the entire play hands another of Thomasina's drawings to a surprised Hannah.
It depicts Septimus and the tortoise, confirming her suspicion that the hermit, who had a tortoise called Plautus, was actually Septimus.
After Thomasina's tragic death, he apparently became a hermit; accepting her challenge to the laws of the universe as propounded by Newton , he worked for the rest of his life to apply "honest English algebra" to the question of the universe's future. Arcadia is, on the surface, somewhere between a tragedy and a comedy. It involves some elements of classical tragedy — " noble " characters and the audience's foreknowledge of Thomasina's death — but the predominant element is comedy, in the way that the characters interact with each other and in their witty, epigrammatic dialogue.
Arcadia explores the nature of evidence and truth in the context of modern ideas about history, mathematics and physics. It shows how clues left by the past are interpreted in the present, by both laypeople and scholars. Stoppard has said that his initial inspiration came from reading James Gleick 's bestseller, Chaos: Making a New Science , "which is about this new kind of mathematics. That sounds fairly daunting if one's talking about a play. I thought, here is a marvellous metaphor.
Classicism , English literature particularly poetry , Byron , 18th century periodicals , modern academia , and even South Pacific botany. These are all concrete topics of conversation; their more abstract resonances rise into epistemology , nihilism , and the origins of lust and madness.
Arcadia' s themes are presented in a series of dichotomies. Most prominent is chaos versus order. The play's characters and action embody this, moving from a settled social order, in which relationships arise, toward the final scene, where the social order — and even the separation of the two eras — dissolve in the party's chaos, relationships collapse, and the characters die or disperse.
Yet within that chaos, order can still be found. As Valentine declares: Patterns making themselves out of nothing.
The characters attempt to find and articulate the order they perceive in their world, even as it is continually overturned. Entropy is high.
But if one has seen the play, one has full information about the objects and the hidden 'order' of their arrangement, brought about by the performance itself. Entropy is low; this can be proved by reflecting that tomorrow night's performance of the play will finish with the table in a virtually identical 'disorder' — which therefore cannot really be disorder at all. A closely related theme in Arcadia is the opposition of Classicism and Romanticism. This appears most clearly in the running argument between Noakes and Lady Croom about proposed changes to the garden.
They all involve moving from the tidy order of Classic style to the rugged naturalism and Gothic mystery of the Romantic. A parallel dichotomy is expressed by Septimus and Thomasina: He instructs her in the Newtonian vision of the universe, while she keeps posing questions and proposing theories that undercut it.
Hannah's search for the hermit of Sidley Park also touches on this theme. A century of intellectual rigour turned in on itself. A mind in chaos suspected of genius The decline from thinking to feeling.
Another major theme is entropy and the irreversibility of time. Thomasina examines this scientifically, remarking that while Newtonian equations work both backwards and forwards, things in reality — like her rice pudding — cannot be "unstirred.
This is embodied by the characters, who burn bridges in relationships, burn candles, and burn letters — and in the end, Thomasina herself like a short-lived candle burns to death. Thomasina's insights into thermodynamics and heat transfer, and the idea that the universe is cooling, echo the poem Darkness by her "real life" contemporary, Lord Byron.
The play's end brings all these dichotomous themes together, showing that while things may appear to contradict — Romanticism and Classicism, intuition and logic, thought and feeling — they can exist, paradoxically, in the same time and space.
Order is found amid the chaos. Jim Hunter writes that Arcadia is a relatively realistic play, compared to Stoppard's other works, though the realism is "much enhanced and teased about by the alternation of two eras". It is comprehensible: Arcadia' s major deviation from realism, of course, is in having two plotlines that are linear and parallel. Thus we see Thomasina deriving her mathematical equations to describe the forms of nature;  we later see Val, with his computer, plotting them to produce the image of a leaf.
The language of Arcadia switches between the colloquialisms of early 19th century England and those of modern England. Stoppard's language reflects his periods, historical and modern, and he uses speech patterns and lexicons in keeping with his characters.
But his is a stylised dialogue, conveying the "look and feel" of the past as perceived by the modern audience. For example, Septimus, after failing to deflect a question from Thomasina with a joke, bluntly explains to his pupil the nature of "carnal embrace"  — but this bluntness is far removed from that with which he repudiates Chater's defence of his wife's honour which he says "could not be adequately defended with a platoon of musketry".