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by Tom Stoppard

 Table of Contents

Arcadia Themes

Arcadia Themes

Wisdom and Knowledge

What's the point of knowledge? Sure, knowing stuff can get you good grades, but after you're out of school, what real use is most of what you've learned? After all, knowing the parts of a cell does...

Literature and Writing

Barring a time machine, how do we know about the past? One big way is through texts – reading what people wrote about themselves and other people. But, as anyone who's kept a diary (or read s...


Since science is the rational study of reality, it's independent of its historical context, right? Well, not exactly, according to Arcadia. While it may be true that the writings of the Ancient Gre...


Arcadia asks some big questions about truth: does it even exist? What gives us grounds for thinking something is true? Is reason the right way to go about seeking truth, or is it better to trust yo...


One of Arcadia's characters calls sex "the attraction that Newton left out" (2.7), and she may not be so far off. Sex in Arcadia is an irrational force, bringing characters together and splitting t...


Arcadia links time to entropy – the idea that everything in the universe is getting more and more randomly distributed, until it's all total disorder (think about a bag of cookies in your bac...

Fate and Free Will

Arcadia takes on the age-old fate vs. free will argument from a scientific standpoint: if we can take a system and use the laws of physics to predict exactly what will happen in that system, why ca...

Man and the Natural World

"Nature" is a tricky word in Arcadia – what appears natural on the surface is rarely so. Exhibit A is the garden of English manor house Sidley Park, whose style undergoes an extreme makeover...

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