Study Guide

Richard Noakes in Arcadia

By Tom Stoppard

Richard Noakes

As the gardener in charge of transforming Sidley Park from something mappable on an Etch-a-Sketch into Gothic Disneyland, Mr. Noakes is the main agent for what Hannah calls "the descent from thinking into feeling" (1.2) But he's also an agent for scientific progress, bringing a newfangled steam engine in to help with the garden's Gothification. Mr. Noakes is kind of like a reality show producer: his landscape is supposed to be more "authentic" and "natural" than its stiff and formal alternative. But it's really just as carefully scripted and staged as any formal garden.