HONORS PS1500 - Physics in the Plays of Tom Stoppard

Arcadia, Act 2, Scene 7 C Questions for Discussion

  • Summary

  • On pp 103 - 104, why does ChloŽ think that determinism goes wrong? On p 118, why does Thomasina believe that "determinism leaves the road at every corner?" Does Thomasina realize the double meaning of her words (A The action of bodies in heat.@ )?

  • At the bottom of p 106, Hannah states the main theme of Arcadia. Discuss whether you agree or disagree with her sentiments.

  • On p 107, after seeing Valentine's depiction of the "Coverly set" (perhaps like the "Mandelbrot set" shown on the other side of this page), Hannah and Valentine discuss whether Thomasina could have discovered a new geometry. What happened to Thomasina on the eve of her seventeenth birthday? Recalling her despair (on p 56) at the thought of the burning of the great Library of Alexandria, what other symbols of destruction by fire have you noticed throughout the play?

  • How old is Thomasina at the middle of p 108? On p 129?

  • On pp 110 and 111, Hannah and Valentine discuss whether the genius of Sidley Park could have discovered the heat death of the universe. What does Valentine mean when he says that "...there's an order things can't happen in."? What is the significance of the poem Hannah quotes?

  • On pp 117 and 125 what happened to Mr. Chater (and afterward, to Mrs Chater)? From p 35, should Bernard be surprised by Chater's fate?

  • On p 122 and 123, Thomasina says that she cannot explicate her drawing of the heat engine and prove that "you cannot get out of it what you put into it." (This is the second law of thermodynamics, that heat cannot be completely converted into work. There is always some waste heat.) She explains that "I do not know the mathematics." Then where did she get her ideas? From the book Septimus gave her on p 114? What is Valentine's answer on p 131?

  • What happens to Bernard and his ideas concerning Byron's duel with Chater at Sidley Park?

  • Who was the hermit of Sidley Park? How does Gus= gift to Hannah on p 136 confirm this (see p 92)? What was he trying to accomplish with his Agood English algebra@ (p 93)?

  • What is the meaning of Gus' character? Why does Hannah waltz with Gus, rather than Valentine, at the end of the play?


    Acting Assignments for Arcadia


    1. Act 2, pp. 106 - 108 (Two parts: Hannah and Valentine)

    Starts with Hannah: What are you doing? Valentine?

    Ends with Valentine: You do yours.

    2. Act 2, pp. 110 - 111 (Two parts: Valentine and Hannah)

    Starts with Valentine: Listen C you know your tea=s getting cold.

    Ends with Hannah: Byron.

    3. Act 2, pp. 131 - 132 (Four parts: Valentine, Hannah, Septimus, Thomasina)

    Starts with Valentine: It=s heat.

    Ends with Thomasina: Goody!


    HANNAH: Oh!, but...how beautiful! (p 107)



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    Last modified:  Thursday, March 03, 2005 05:35 PM