Karen Powell's Reviews > Arcadia

Arcadia by Tom Stoppard
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's review
Jan 04, 2010

Two time periods 180 years apart are spliced together to share one stage and several props. In an aristorcratic household in the early 19th century, teenager Thomasina is on the cusp of a great mathematical discovery well before her time as her witty and amorous tutor Septimus fends off (true) charges of adultury with failed poet Mr. Chater's wife Charity. In the late 20th century, two scholars descend upon the same house in the quest for answers to different questions. Bernard believes that Septimus's friend from university, Lord Byron, has a connection to the house and fought a deadly duel there. Hannah, on the other hand, is concerned with the hermitage built in the graden and the mysterious hermit rumored to have lived there. Their perception of the truth is played against the actual scenes of the past to show how murky the truth can be. But ultimately, history repeats itself, as if it were plotted out from the beginning and following a certain formula. This is Thomasina's discovery, and we see how the forgotten past comes to light again, as if we are not to mourn what we have lost, but look forward to it repeating in the future.
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