The Relationship between Thomasina and Septimus in Arcadia

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The relationship between Thomasina Coverly and Septimus Hodge is an ever-present theme in Arcadia. It is evident in the first scene, and evolves and develops up until the final scene. The given extract (Act 1 Scene 3, p46-52) is interesting as it occurs halfway through this development.

The way in which Thomasina and Septimus' relationship is first presented is as that between pupil and teacher. This becomes apparent to the audience before the dialogue begins in this scene. As the stage directions show, "we have seen this composition before", in the schoolroom of the first scene. Their roles are more clearly established when the dialogue begins. Septimus is clearly in control of the situation, often correcting Thomasina's translation, "Ruled is better". Thomasina struggles with the Latin translation, which reiterates her role as student, even if this is not as evident in the first scene.

It soon becomes clear, however, that the relationship between Septimus and Thomasina is not entirely consistent with the that of a typical teacher and his student. Rather, the pair seem to be on equal footing in terms of intelligence, with Thomasina being confident enough to question her teacher's methods in Act 1 scene 3, "What a faint heart!" (p49). Thomasina also forces her teacher to think about things in a different way to how he would usually approach them, which suggests some level of role reversal, as this is usually the role of the teacher. An example of this can be found in Act 1 Scene 1, as Thomasina makes innovative comments regarding chaos theory, which…


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