The hermit is actually Septimus, but his identity remains a mystery for most of the play. The hermit is the focus of Hannah’s research at Sidley Park, as she sees him as a symbol of the Romantic era. Throughout the play, she attempts to understand his identity, and what he was doing out in the hermitage scribbling math and predicting the end of the world.
The timeline below shows where the character The Sidley Park hermit appears in Arcadia. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Scene 2
...era (early 19th century) that’s relevant to Bernard. She’s trying to research the Sidley Park hermit, who she’s using to frame her interpretation of the end of Romanticism. The hermit died... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 5
...Bernard, not dissuaded, reads Hannah a bit of 19th-century travel writing that mentions the Sidley hermit, who had a tortoise named Plautus. (We, though not Hannah, know that Septimus’s tortoise was... (full context)