Stoppard's Presentation of Hannah and Bernard

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Re-read Act 1 scene 2 from page 28 (Hannah: Mr Peacock?) to page 32 (Or brown-paper cigarillos.). Discuss the presentation of the relationship between Hannah and Bernard in this extract and elsewhere in the play. (1 hour 15 minutes) In this extract, and throughout the rest of the play, Stoppard presents the relationship between Hannah Jarvis and Bernard Nightingale with comedic value, primarily to amuse the audience but with the additional motive of highlighting the polarity of their personalities. This is used as a device to introduce the idea t of ‘knowledge for knowledge’s sake’, which is one of Stoppard’s key themes. It also demonstrates the contrast between Romanticism and Classicism, as each of the characters is representative of one of these ideals. From the beginning of Act 1 Scene 2 and within this extract, it is made obvious to the audience that as a character, one of Bernard’s major purposes is to create comedy through his unabashedly terrible personality. His deceitful nature is introduced when he asks Chloe to lie to Hannah about his name, due to the fact that he wrote a derogatory review of her book yet still wishes to use her intelligence. As an audience, we are already aware of this before Hannah makes the discovery, which increases our sense of disgust at his deceitfulness. Stoppard uses stage directions to ironically comment on this through ‘Bernard looks round vaguely…then recovers himself and turns on the Nightingale bonhomie’. The idea that he can ‘turn on’ the charm signifies him as dislikeable character, particularly when combined with his significantly named alias of ‘Mr Peacock’ which aptly suggests he is both arrogant and flamboyant. Hannah on the other hand is presented as the complete opposite. Her name, which is a palindrome, suggests logicality and pattern and this can be applied to her predictable and scientific nature. Unlike
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