February 22, 2011
Prompt: The meaning of some literary works is often enhanced by sustained allusion to myths, the Bible, science, history, art, or other works of literature. Select a literary work that makes use of such a sustained reference. Then write a well-organized essay in which you explain the allusion that predominates in the work and analyze how it enhances the meaning of the work as a whole.
Tom Stoppard escorts the mind on a journey in search of knowledge through the eyes of a curious, passionate adolescent along side strong-willed, lustful adults in the play Arcadia. By intertwining dual worlds, Stoppard illustrates the advancement of science, human tendencies, love, mathematics, and contemporary pastimes through the use of extended allusions to science, the Bible, and math history.
Often times Stoppard engages Septimus, a main character in the pastime setting, in unfavorable confrontations concerning his so-called secret love life and in the heat of discussion, draws scientific references to help illustrate his point that knowledge cannot exist without love or vice versa. Stoppard illustrates this realization through Newton’s Laws of Thermodynamics about how things can go forward but backwards and his example of plum pudding. In the end, Thomasina, Septimus, and Hannah realize all that their lives could not be complete without a balance between knowledge and love. Thomasina’s tragic end best illustrates this realization because she evokes the most sympathy due to her innocent pursuit of love and her dismal death.
Alongside love and knowledge, Stoppard illustrates a change in human pastimes and a general perception of the world by alluding to the Bible, in specific, the Garden of Eden. Lady Croom constantly searches for ways to make her garden mirror the perfect, serene Eden, but hard as she tries, she can never bring it to be the best, just as mankind can never reenter the Garden of Eden, become perfect due to the mishap...
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