Tom Stoppard's Representation Of Gender In Arcadia

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In Arcadia, not only does Tom Stoppard portray Thomasina’s coming of age, but also the forces that drive her to her death. In this play, Stoppard alternates between two sets of characters. Thomasina is from the 19th century, while the characters in the 20th century attempt to piece together how Thomasina’s intelligence doesn’t drive her to the success that she could potentially achieve. Thomasina is a thirteen year old mathematical genius who discovers methods before they are even commonly known or publicized, but her tutor, Septimus, is ironically a symbol of sex who gets in the way of her studies. Math is typically associated with order, formulas, and systems, but there is also an aspect of how even certain mathematical theories lead to disorder. On the other hand, sex can be seen as a distraction, lust, or taboo, but it is also an essential aspect of life. Stoppard demonstrates how mathematics and sex are two opposing forces in the world that can clash and lead to destruction. From the start of the play, Thomasina’s curiosity about sex illuminates its taboo portrayal in society. In the …show more content…
She claims how “everything is turned to love with her. New love, absent love, lost love - I never knew a heroine that makes such noodles of sex” (38). Cleopatra is often depicted as a powerful historical figure, but Thomasina is troubled by how Cleopatra is praised for having sex with the enemy. Especially since she is only thirteen years, she doesn’t comprehend the power of sexual urges could overpower her loyalty to her community. However, Thomasina is still different from other girls her age because she doesn’t view this as almost a “fairy tale” with a happy ending in which the woman lives a life full of love. Due to Septimus’s teachings, Thomasina is starting to recognize the complications of sex and how love and a happy ending isn’t the harsh

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