• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Compare the ways Wilde presents the main female protagonist in The importance of being Earnest with the way Stoppard presents the women in Arcadia.

Extracts from this document...


Explore the ways Stoppard presents the characters of Thomasina and Hannah in ?Arcadia?. Compare the ways Wilde presents the main female protagonist in ?The importance of being Earnest? with the way Stoppard presents the women in ?Arcadia?. How far do you agree that Stoppard's presentation is more effective? Stoppard uses the characters of Hannah and Thomasina to convey the principal theme; the shift from enlightenment to romanticism . The valiant characters of Thomasina and Hannah are depicted as being ambitious, intuitive and act as the vehicle from where Stoppard is allowed to express his views regarding women in the Victorian era. Stoppard believes that women were undervalued in a society from where they achieved so much, and by depicting the likes of Thomasina and Hannah as independent, headstrong women, he is demanding the rethink of the archetypal view of Victorian women in the modern era. Hannah Jarvis, in Arcadia encapsulates the enlightenment era; with her emphasis on logical reasoning to reinforce proposed theories and the confrontations between Hannah and Bernard portray the vast differences between the periods of enlightenment and romanticism. Hannah believes in the ideology of romance being a ?romantic sham? and challenging Bernard (who firmly embodies the era) as being ?reckless? and completely tarnishing his proposed theory as being ?bollocks?. Hannah further conveys the more pragmatic concept of the enlightenment period in her dress sense - ?she wears nothing frivolous?, compared to the ?flamboyant? Bernard who Hannah believes is entrapped in the ignorance and false portrayals of romance. ...read more.


The final waltz between Hannah and Gus suggests that even the most enlightened of us (thus being Hannah) are liable to romantic tendencies. The end of the play brings all of these themes together, showing that although things may appear to contradict?romanticism and enlightenment, intuition and logic, thought and feeling ? they can exist, paradoxically, in the same time and space. Stoppard, by concluding the play in the middle of the death of Thomasina forces us to think about the storytelling order. Defining a clear beginning, middle, and end to a story helps us to make sense out of chaos, but even so, the play reminds us that beginnings and endings can be just as arbitrary as the steps of a waltz. Thomasina embodies both aspects of romanticism and enlightenment; as well as having these new ?radical? ideas, Thomasina is also interested in the art of sex and love. At the age of 13, she is inquisitive and is almost obsessed with wanting to know more about ?Carnal embrace?. The inquisitive nature of Thomasina enforces the point that she is curious but also willing to learn; although not always understanding, she is never afraid to ask, to challenge. Through this, Stoppard successfully portrays Thomasina as being an adventurous and courageous women in 19th century England. The idea of heat (and the second law of thermodynamics) is thus represented through the actions of the characters. ...read more.


This further suggests that Gwendolyn wants men to look at her in a desirous way, as if she specifically needs male influences to validate her. This in contrast to Hannah who is classically reserved and ?wears nothing frivolous.? I would agree with the statement that ?Stoppard presents the female characters more effectively? than Wilde, to a certain extent. Stoppard?s female characters exhibit a greater degree of complexity and aptitude such as Thomasina?s embodiment from the shift from the somewhat dry ideals of the enlightenment to the emotional and more attached elements of romanticism. The fatal ending also gives us an insight to Stoppard views on the drastic limitations of romanticism. Hannah, who is surely Stoppard nearest representative in the play symbolizes all aspects of the enlightenment period. Wilde, contrastingly highlights the upper class stereotypes and characters by giving us a light hearted insight into Victorian society. Gwendolyn represents a typical upper class women in the Victorian era who is educated to a certain extent but the idea of marriage and finding the ?idyllic? love is her main drive. Similarly like Thomasina?s depiction of Cleopatra, Gwendolyn allows love and sex to stand in the way of her education. Both Stoppard and Wilde use different writing techniques to convey their complex characters personalities; Hannah's complex monologues are used by Stoppard to reflect the intellect and rational approach of enlightenment while Gwendolyn?s romantic dialogue tentatively mocks some of the attitude of the Victorian upper classes. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Other Criticism & Comparison section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Other Criticism & Comparison essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    The English Patient

    5 star(s)

    A Poetics of Postmodernism: History, Theory, Fiction. New York: 1988. Presented by Angela Wei, 11/4, 1998 Historiographic metafiction: Historiographic metafiction is one kind of postmodern novel which rejects projecting present beliefs and standards onto the past and asserts the specificity and particularity of the individual past event.

  2. The Female is Nothing But the Body To what extent do you agree with ...

    Another technique used by both writers to show that the female is nothing but the body, is that of rapid reversal of rights. During one of Offred's flashbacks, she re-lives the day of the Gileadean coup. When she is remembering lying in bed with her husband, having just been told

  1. Characters similarities in The Mayor of Casterbridge

    especially pity and fear, described by Aristotle as an effect of tragic drama on its audience, and thus bringing these two sensations into their proper balance. In real life, Aristotle explained, men are sometimes too much addicted to pity or fear, sometimes too little; tragedy brings them back to a virtuous and happy mean.

  2. Free essay

    Discuss the way in which the female characters are presented in the Great Gatsby

    be a fool - that's the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool (17).' Although Ella Kaye is mentioned only briefly, she has certain significance. She embodies the concept or metaphor that is a 'Gold digger'.

  1. Comparing the Role of Women in Sense and Sensibility and Othello

    Brabantio doesn't accept Desdemona's marriage with Othello but Desdemona defends herself and her husband by saying that this is hard for me, I respect you and love you for giving me life, education since I am your daughter and you are my father.

  2. In both Othello and The Merchant of Venice, however, Shakespeare presents female characters who ...

    Shakespeare could be mocking this ?bimbo? phenomenon, implying that it is unfair and unnatural for women to feign idiocy. On the other hand Shakespeare could be suggesting that men should be aware that women can be deceitful and manipulative. According to Peter Malin[9], men were terrified of being deceived by

  1. How is Madness presented through the protagonist in The Yellow Wallpaper compared to The ...

    Although if we looked at the Narrator?s post natal depression from a modern perspective she would be understood and treated for her illness, showing how the treatment of mental illnesses have developed over time.

  2. Twentieth century literature often portrays the relationship between men and women as deeply problematic. ...

    The enjambment in ?the sex/ was diabolical? has the effect of emphasizing the two words, whilst the slang, colloquial language and extra clauses altogether contribute to the comic effect. Moreover, the caesurae and the one word sentences act as throw-away lines, unexpected and shocking in their force.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work