Tom Stoppard

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Themes and Colors
Mathematics, Nature, and Fate Theme Icon
Romantic Conceptions of Beauty Theme Icon
Sex and Love Theme Icon
Academia and Education Theme Icon
Death Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Arcadia, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.
Sex and Love Theme Icon

Everyone in the play seems to be in love with someone else, or at least sexually attracted to someone else. Septimus loves Lady Croom and later Thomasina. Bernard gets with Chloe, but also wants to get with Hannah. Valentine calls Hannah his fiancée. Gus also seems to have a crush on Hannah. The play begins and ends on the themes of sex and love—ending with Septimus and Thomasina’s kisses, and Gus and Hannah’s dance, and beginning with Thomasina trying to get Septimus to explain what “carnal embrace” means.

Sex and love are also tied to the play’s larger concerns with knowledge, beauty, and death. The play takes both sex and love seriously, never disdaining the characters’ urges, but demonstrating how sex and love can be ways to explore what it means to know another person. Further, sex, because of its procreative properties and unique pleasures, ties into the play’s interest in death and how to transcend it.

But sex and love in the play have even farther-ranging connections—Stoppard links each theme in a complex web. Sex and love also connect to nature, and even to the conflict/contrast between Romanticism and the Enlightenment. Here, after all, are all these scholars engaging in intense intellectual pursuits, but there are physical and emotional longings that also drive them, that are intertwined with their other pursuits and inescapable. They are minds and bodies.

Related Themes from Other Texts
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Sex and Love ThemeTracker

The ThemeTracker below shows where, and to what degree, the theme of Sex and Love appears in each scene of Arcadia. Click or tap on any chapter to read its Summary & Analysis.
How often theme appears:
scene length:
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Arcadia PDF

Sex and Love Quotes in Arcadia

Below you will find the important quotes in Arcadia related to the theme of Sex and Love.
Act 1, Scene 1 Quotes

Thomasina: Tell me more about sexual congress.
Septimus: There is nothing more to be said about sexual congress.
Thomasina: Is it the same as love?
Septimus: Oh no, it is much nicer than that.

Related Characters: Septimus Hodge (speaker), Thomasina Coverly (speaker)
Page Number: 8
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 2, Scene 5 Quotes

Chaps sometimes wanted to marry me, and I don’t know a worse bargain. Available sex against not being allowed to fart in bed.

Related Characters: Hannah Jarvis (speaker)
Page Number: 67
Explanation and Analysis: