HONORS PS1500 - Physics in the Plays of Tom Stoppard

Arcadia, Act 2, Scenes 5 and 6 C Questions for Discussion

  • Summary

  • Act 2, Scene 5 provides a demonstration of academic dueling. How does Bernard answer Hannah's challenges to his theory that Byron killed Chater? (Rationally? Emotionally? Theatrically?) How convincing are Hannah's objections?

  • On p 87, Bernard argues that "A great poet is always timely. A great philosopher is an urgent need. There's no rush for Isaac Newton. We were quite happy with Aristotle's cosmos." To what extent do you agree or disagree with Bernard? How would you compare the value of the sciences and the value of the humanities in you own life?

  • What does Bernard mean when he says on p 88, "It's no fun when it's not among pros, is it?"

  • On p 91 to 94, Hannah believes she has identified the hermit of Sidley Park. Who does she think it is, and what is her evidence?

  • What was the hermit trying to accomplish with his calculations of "good English algebra?" (The "Frenchified mathematick" referred to on p 93 is On the Propagation of Heat in Solid Bodies by Jean Baptiste Joseph Fourier. It was awarded a prize by the Scientific Academy of the Paris Institute in 1811 (see p. 114).

  • What saved Septimus from having to duel Chater and Capt. Brice? Where are Mr. and Mrs. Chater and Capt. Brice going after leaving Sidley Park, and why?


    Acting Assignments for Arcadia


    1. Act 2, pp. 84 - 89 (Four parts: Hannah, Valentine, Bernard, and ChloŽ)

    Starts with Hannah: Bernard, I don= t know why I= m bothering C

    Ends with Hannah: No.

    2. Act 2, pp. 98 - 102 (Two parts: Septimus and Lady Croom)

    Starts with Septimus: I= m afraid I have no knowledge of what has occurred.

    Ends with Lady Croom: Bring a book.


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    Last modified:  Saturday, March 17, 2007 04:19 PM