Gender Roles In Tom Stoppard's Arcadia

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Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia provides a one of a kind, time defiante, look at human nature. Through the access of events and actions of both the past and the present, a refreshing experience allows insight into commonly overlooked areas of human life. Arcadia provides enlightenment on gender roles, loads and recover, and incompleteness. A commonly overlooked aspect of Arcadia concerns gender roles. The playwright seems to adhere to the typical gender associations of males being of the mind, and females of the body. This is apparent through the various behaviors observed of each character. The feminine roles of Mrs. Chater, Lady Croom, and Chloe prove to hold true to sexuality, as displayed by the promiscuous actions of the ladies. The expectations …show more content…
The meaning behind the final waltz is argued among numerous critics. Alison Wheatley claims the waltz to be an display of Hannah’s emerging sexuality. Wheatley describes the waltz as “acceptance by Hannah of the need to be a fully integrated human being” (183). It is also stated that possibly “Hannah is intuiting: that her absolute rejection of things carnal is an insufficient way to live” (183). By strictly focusing on the purpose of the waltz as a representation of Hannah’s sexual emergence, Wheatley overlooks other opportunities to explore the significance behind the final waltz. For example, Hannah’s acceptance of Gus’s invitation to dance could simply be a sign of politeness. In the beginning of the play it seems as if Hannah is oblivious to Gus’s fondness of her. Chloe mentions to Hannah about how her “genius brother is in love with her” (Stoppard 33). Hannah 's response of “that’s a joke” shows that she is oblivious to the meaning behind his actions (33). As Hannah grows through the duration of the play, it is possible that her compassion, especially for Gus, also grows. The final scene has Gus presenting Hannah with the drawing of “Septimus holding Platus” which Hannah had been previously looking for (97). As Gus responds with a bow inviting Hannah to dance, at first Hannah declines, but soon enough she changes her …show more content…
Derek Alwes introduces a valid viewpoint when he discusses the final waltz. Awes claims that the waltz reflects “human condition” and that “it embraces beginnings and ends, creation and loss, life and death- simultaneously” (402). The waltz serves as a wrap up to conclude the events of the play. This refreshing viewpoint summarizes not only the waltz, but for the entire play as well. Wheatley focuses on mainly the aspect of sexuality, which is an important influence on the play’s events, however Alwes embraces more influential concepts that are a part of the development of the play. I feel that Wheatley and Alwes both bring up important explanations for the final waltz, but both ideas can converge in order to create a more well developed and all encompassing claim. The final waltz can represent sexuality as well as a reflection of humanity. Additionally, Arcadia also uses the influence of gender to initiate the idea of wholeness, and how it is unattainable. For example, the garden is an unseen, yet significant concept. The garden is never fully restored, yet several attempts at restoration is made in both the past and the present. It is observed that two female characters, Lady Croom and Hannah, are preoccupied with the garden. It is observed in scenes set in the past, Lady Croom fusses about the order of the

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