Tom Stoppard

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The Pot of Dahlias Symbol Analysis

The Pot of Dahlias Symbol Icon
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 Bernard’s theory. Chater definitely didn’t die at Byron’s gun, because Hannah unearths the garden book that describes his discovery of the dahlia. Like the apple and the leaf, the dahlias are a product of the natural world, so they tie into the ideas of Romantic beauty, gardening, taming nature, and describing nature. Chater finds a place alongside Thomasina and Valentine as a describer of nature. Despite Noakes’s attempts to make the Sidley Park garden into a Gothic wilderness, only Chater deals with the true dangers of the wild.
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The Pot of Dahlias Symbol Timeline in Arcadia

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Pot of Dahlias appears in Arcadia. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Scene 2
Academia and Education Theme Icon
...him anywhere, besides a mention of a possible relative, a botanist who died studying a dahlia in Martinique. (full context)
Act 2, Scene 7
Mathematics, Nature, and Fate Theme Icon
Sex and Love Theme Icon
...from the early 19th century, the time of Thomasina and Septimus). A pot of dwarf dahlias sits on the table. Chloë reads the title of Bernard’s paper. “Even in Arcadia—Sex, Literature... (full context)
Romantic Conceptions of Beauty Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
...have their photo taken (they’re still wearing Regency-period clothing). Lady Croom touches the pot of dahlias, while Hannah reads from Lady Croom’s garden books, which function as journals. The journal mentions... (full context)
Mathematics, Nature, and Fate Theme Icon
Sex and Love Theme Icon
Academia and Education Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
...Croom. Bernard is in a fury about something, raving that he’s been “fucked by a dahlia.” Hannah reads a passage from the garden book, which clearly connects the botanist Chater, who... (full context)