What is the point/purpose of the juxtaposition of the two historical periods in "Arcadia"?

Expert Answers
ladyvols1 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As you read the play, or see it performed the purpose of the juxtaposition is to compare the two time periods.  Stoppard uses this style of writing so the reader will know things about the past that the characters in the present don't know. "When contemporary scenes are juxtaposed on the scenes of the past, the guessing-game nature of historical studies is highlighted. The audience gets to watch Bernard and Hannah try to piece together the clues, repeatedly coming up with the wrong answers. From this, they can assume that history is often put together through such lucky (and unlucky) guesses, and that at best it is, like Thomasina's formula for chaos, only a theory."

lskoczylas | Student

The juxtaposition between the two periods illustrates that the debate over the theories from Enlightenment and Romanticism continues, since characters and discussion mirror each other between the two periods.