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Arcadia Essay

878 words - 4 pages

Throughout the text, Tom Stoppard's play, Arcadia, makes a series of philosophical statements regarding the theme of determinism. These statements are developed largely through images and completely different time periods, particularly those of the Romantic and Enlightenment eras. Stoppard uses the theme of determinism to show how the ideas of the Romantic era and the present day have gone in a circle similar to a time cycle. Even though we get more and more advanced everyday, Stoppard shows us that despite our constant advancement, our basic ideas have remained unchanged. Stoppard portrays this belief of a time cycle through the image of the apple juxtaposed with the image of the garden.In Arcadia, Stoppard uses a scientific view of determinism along with a religious view on determinism in order to allow the reader to see similarities in ideas between the Romantic era and the present day. Religious determinism in Arcadia is shown to have to do with God, fate, predestination and the future whereas the scientific view has to do with Newton and with biological determinism. Although both stories do use both aspects of determinism, it is usually the story from 1809 using the scientific determinism whereas in the present day, they use more of the religious view of determinism.In the first story, a scientific view of determinism is shown through Septimus and Thomasina in order to introduce to the reader the basic ideas on determinism and science. "No more you can, time must needs run backward, and since it will not, we must stir our way onward mixing as we go, disorder out of disorder into disorder until pink is complete, unchanging and unchangeable, and we are done with it forever". This is known as free will or self-determination"..."If everything from the furthest planet to the smallest atom of our brain acts according to Newton's law of motion, what becomes of free will?"..."God's will" (Stoppard, 5). Basically, these quotes are explaining Septimus' views on determinism in a scientific view and are using Newton as an example as well. When performing close analysis on this quote, order versus chaos is the best dichotomy that relates to the passage. Septimus told Thomasina that because time can't run backwards, we have to move onward, going from order into chaos and back into order.When Septimus started to talk about Newton, that is where the image of the apple comes in. Perhaps when Septimus is talking about things going from disorder out of disorder into disorder, perhaps he is referring to Newton's 2nd law, the law of...

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