Arcadia as a postmodern text

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 12th grade February 2008

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Arcadia, a typically postmodern play by Tom Stoppard exemplifies this movement through use of the features of postmodernism and by it?s ambiguous ending.

Some of the features used in the play which demonstrate this include the shifts in time from past to present, concurrent props used sets of both eras, the characters overlapping at the end, parallel characters in both eras and textual references. Its ambiguous ending and satirical style also combine to make it a very fresh, new play.

The play begins with a humorous introduction into the student-tutor relationship between Thomasina Coverly and Septimus Hodge. Stoppard immediately sets the tension between cerebral and passion themes by Thomasina?s curiosity, ?tell me more about sexual congress.? while Septimus attempts to engage Thomasina?s attention in proving Fermat?s theorem. These opposites become numerous in the play as Stoppard contrasts free will and determination, science and the humanities, romantic and classical and female intuition with male dogmatism.

The play, takes on a number of different meanings when looked at from different perspectives; some would claim that it is satire on academia and the world of researchers such as Bernard, others would say that was more about history and the fallacies of studying primary evidence. The play utilizes many theories concerning science and philosophies on life, and so many might say this play is about living life, an existential thought in the play as Thomasina fulfills her potential in life and burns on the eve of her seventeenth birthday.

Time is used in the play very cleverly and as we are transported back and forth, we learn information from both eras that would do them both good but they have no way of transporting that information but through the play. A good example of this is when Hannah believes that the woman standing next...