Arcadia Questions and Answers
by Tom Stoppard

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In Arcadia, how does characterisation effectively convey the main message to the audience?

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As with any major text of literary import, characterisation in this play is one key way in which Stoppard chooses to develop the central themes and messages that he wishes to convey to his audience. These are many and varied, but one you might like to consider is what he says about sex and how he relates that to our human condition, and in particular how science, prized by so many of the characters in this play, is so profoundly inadequate when it comes to trying to understand us as humans and encapsulate us as scientific objects.

Consider how sex is described and how it is used. Sex is described as being "the attraction that Newton left out," perhaps indicating the way that it does not follow any scientific...

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  Probably because the distinctive traits of their personalities are linked to the dialectics of chaos and order in the play.

   Yet, although the characters are somehow associated with either newtonian science, with clacissism or a romantic vision of the world, still, the emphasis remains on change and mutability. The characters have a propensity to behave in such or such way but they occasionally turn out to be an odd mixture because of the dynamics of desire and the interplay of ideas that form the structural backbone of the play. As a matter-of-fact, one of the key concepts in the play is the law of entropy which measures the degree of disorder of a system.

  Therefore, characterization does convey a message but we should beware of seeing the characters as a mere personification of ideas.