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Analysis

Literary Devices in Arcadia

Symbols, Imagery, Allegory

Even though we never directly see the garden of Sidley Park, its symbolic presence is felt throughout the play. Hannah, especially, has Opinions about what the history of the garden means:BERNARD:...

Setting

All the visible action of the play takes place in the same room in an English country house, a couple of centuries apart. Keeping the action all in the same place underscores the similarities betwe...

Narrator Point of View

Arcadia is a play, so each character gets to speak for him or herself on an equal footing with the audience. The lack of a narrator also means that everything in the play has to be expressed throug...

Genre

We may read Arcadia as a book without ever seeing it on the stage, but the fact that it is a play meant to be looked at on a stage strongly influences how the plot unfolds. While a text on the page...

Tone

Since this is a play and each character speaks in his or her own voice, it's difficult to identify a consistent tone for the work. One thing does seem to be common about the way the characters talk...

Writing Style

What do we mean by witty? Think Juno: jokey, playful, more complicated language than is necessary to get the point across, with a tinge of showing off of the speaker's smarts. Take, for instance, S...

What's Up With the Title?

You wouldn't know it from Arcadia, but Arcadia is a real place that still exists today – it's a region in Greece. But Arcadia has always had more impact on imagination than on politics. Arcad...

What's Up With the Ending?

The last thing we see on stage in Arcadia is two couples, one from the present and one from the past, waltzing into the future. What else is there to do when the world is doomed? That may seem a bi...

Tough-o-Meter

Arcadia is a play about a bunch of really smart people talking about really big ideas, so it can be hard for the rest of us (who can't recite Byron from memory or explain how fractals work) to keep...

Plot Analysis

Since the play's two plots run parallel for most of the time, we'll identify each stage for each plot.Septimus's affair with Mrs. Chater is discovered / Bernard joins Hannah in research at Sidley P...

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis: The Quest

Thomasina thinks that math should be able to describe nature / Bernard is convinced that Byron killed ChaterThese two realizations are what set these characters on their paths; much of what they do...

Three Act Plot Analysis

Septimus clashes with Chater over sex and with Thomasina over mathematics, while Bernard sets Sidley Park on end with his theories about Byron.Septimus escapes a duel, but not the revelation of his...

Trivia

The original London production of the play starred Bill Nighy as Bernard Nightingale, whom you may know better as Davy Jones in Pirates of the Caribbean 2 and 3. (Source)While writing the play, Sto...

Steaminess Rating

It seems like nearly everyone in Arcadia is thinking about having an affair, or about other people's affairs. But the most risqué bits are so witty, that unless you already know what they're t...

Allusions

Julius Caesar, Gallic Wars (1.1)Onan (1.1)Eros (1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 2.5)John Milton (1.1)Robert Southey (1.1)Robert Southey, "Thalaba the Destroyer" (1.1)Robert Southey, "Madoc" (1.1)the Edinburgh Revie...
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