Study Guide

Chloë Coverly in Arcadia

By Tom Stoppard

Chloë Coverly

Chloë seems the opposite of Hannah – while Hannah values freedom over sex and is suspicious of emotions in general, Chloë is eying Bernard's from almost the minute he arrives at Sidley Park. Chloë and Hannah may, however, have more in common than it seems at first. Check out the end of Chloë's fling with Bernard:

HANNAH: What a bastard you are, Bernard.
CHLOË: And you mind your own business! What do you know about anything?
HANNAH: Nothing.
(to Bernard) It was worth it, though, wasn't it?
BERNARD: It was wonderful.
: (An echo) Nothing. (2.7)

A moment before this exchange, it's clear that Bernard's not at all interested in seeing Chloë again. So this "wonderful" bit might be sincere, but we think Bernard's probably lying to get out of there with as little drama as possible. Chloë's question to Bernard about whether their relationship was worth it sounds strangely similar to the debate that raged in Act 2, Scene 5 as to what kinds of knowledge are worthwhile, which Hannah capped by saying "it's all trivial" (2.7). Having that argument echoed here, which specific mention of knowledge and worth, suggests that sexual knowledge might be added to this question. Just as in that earlier debate, it's left to the audience to decide what Chloë's question even means: what would make her relationship with Bernard "worth it"? What does worth even mean, in this context?

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