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Arcadia as a Discussion of Scientific Theories

  • Journal of Modern English Drama
  • Abbr : JMBARD
  • 2003, 16(3), pp.4-116
  • Publisher : 한국현대영미드라마학회
  • Research Area : Humanities > English Language and Literature > English Literature > Contemporary English Drama

KIM,TAI-WOO 1

1국민대학교

Candidate

ABSTRACT

Arcadia, the best play by Tom Stoppatrd so far, was first staged atthe Lyttelton Theatre, Royal National Theatre in April 1993. Basically itcan best be understod as a literary detective work. As it switches backand forth from the early nineteenth century and the present ime, it showsthe real picture of the arlier time on the one hand, and the literarydetectives’ eforts to reconstruct he past on the other.At a larger level,Arcadia is a grand drama of scientific debates. Thescientific theories featured comprise no les than Newtonian physics,quantum echanics, thermodynamics (entropy), and Chaos Theory. Intothe debates are also woven vast themes like determinism, fre-will, death,love, our quest for truth, and so n. This may sound enormouslydaunting, but o Stoppard's immense credit, granted that some basicunderstanding of the scientific theories is necesary for a full appreciation,Arcadia can even be satisfactorily enjoyed without particularly detailedknowledge of them, due to its extremely dexterously handled comedies onthe one hand, and the moving human drama of love and eath on theother.Though it may not be tenable under igorous scientific scrutiny, wecan postulate the interactions of the scientific theories inArcadia asfollows for the sake of convenience. First, the Newtonian paradigm standsfor a rigorous determinism where the universe runs acording to its trictrules with no room for human participation. At the other end of the116 김 태 우spectrum stands entropy theory with its fearful determinism that theuniverse is irevocably heading for the heat death. Chaos Theory cuts inamid these opposite determinisms to make room for human fre will andchance which make the world as it is.The question of chaos and order lies at he centre ofArcadia against

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