Tom Stoppard

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The Garden

The Sidley Park garden is the play’s strongest symbol of the shift from Enlightenment-era conceptions of beauty to Romantic ones. Noakes spearheads the change, transforming the grounds from a gentle, pastoral countryside scene to a… (read full symbol analysis)

The Tortoise

The tortoise exists both in past and present versions. In the past, he belongs to Septimus and is named Plautus. In the present, he belongs to Valentine and is named Lightning. The tortoise represents the… (read full symbol analysis)


Fire is a two-pronged symbol. On the one hand, fire relates to Thomasina’s discoveries about the second law of thermodynamics. She identifies that heat tends to leave a system, and won’t re-enter of its… (read full symbol analysis)

The Apple and Its Leaf

Like the tortoise, the apple exists both in the past and the present. In the present, Gus gives Hannah the apple. In the past, Septimus begins to eat it, and Thomasina declares her intention… (read full symbol analysis)

The Pot of Dahlias

In the past, the dahlias are important because Chater discovers them and Lady Croom is proud to be the first in England to display them. In the present, the dahlias provide the evidence that disproves… (read full symbol analysis)

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