Explore the Presentation of the Romantics/Romanticism in This Extract and Elsewhere in the Play

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Re-read the extract from Act 1 Scene 2 (page 34-41). Explore the presentation of The Romantics/Romanticism in this extract and elsewhere in the play Romanticism is one of the dichotomous themes in 'Arcadia' paired oppositely with Classicism. Throughout the play, representations of each era are shown to be at odds with each other. Stoppard explores the incompatibility of emotion and knowledge through the characters who reflect the themes of the play. In this extract, Hannah and Bernard's dialogue about the latter day Sidley Park display and explain the movement from the Enlightenment to Romanticism for the audience as they discuss the Sidley Park hermit. From the play, it is known to the audience that Septimus is the Sidley Park hermit. However, he is described in this extract to be very academic, 'a scientist', to have studied 'mathematics and natural philoshopy at Cambridge'. The hermit is associated with the Romantic movement that follows the Enlightenment is contrastingly described to be a 'savant'. The description of change from 'scientist' to 'savant' indicates an scornful view held by Hannah towards this development from thinking to feeling. She describes the hermit to represent the 'nervous breakdown' of the Romantic era. This further indicates her personal belief of it being a 'decline from thinking to feeling'. However, she does mention how he was a 'sage of lunacy', 'suspected of genius', which could hint at a different kind of knowledge being discovered in the Romantic era, rather than a complete intellectual descent from Classicism and the Enlightenment. Other representations of this in the play could be in how Thomasina, a highly intellectual girl before her time, expresses an initial ignorance of sex but slowly develops this knowledge towards the end of the play. She also combines her intelligence with imagination, theorizing mathematical concepts
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