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Arcadia Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 88 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Arcadia.
This section contains 991 words
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Themes

Enlightenment vs. Romanticism

By setting much of Arcadia in 1809, Stoppard pits two opposing historical epochs against each other: Enlightenment and Romanticism. The eighteenth century age of Enlightenment stressed orderly, rational thought, and conformity to accepted rules and forms, and looked to the Classical Greeks and Romans as models of simplicity, proportion, and restrained emotion in culture, art, and literature. Romanticism of the early nineteenth century was a deliberate revolt against Enlightenment ideals. Romantic philosophers and artists experimented with literary forms and stressed individuality, freedom, and the wildness of nature in their work.

The characters in Arcadia, in both the past and present scenes, represent both kinds of thought. Lady Croom wants to preserve her classically-inspired gardens where, "The slopes are green and gentle. The trees are companionably grouped at intervals that show them to advantage. The rill is a serpentine ribbon unwound from the lake peaceably contained by meadows...

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This section contains 991 words
(approx. 4 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our Arcadia Study Guide
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Arcadia from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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