Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Arts

Department

English

Advisor's Name

Michael P. Gillespie

Advisor's Title

Committee Chair

Advisor's Name

James M. Sutton

Advisor's Name

Asher Z. Milbauer

Advisor's Name

Richard Schwartz

Keywords

Tom Stoppard, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Hamlet, Chaos, quantum science, Hapgood, Arcadia, complimentarity, uncertainty, recursive symmetry

Date of Defense

3-24-2011

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to critically evaluate Tom Stoppard’s application of chaos theory and quantum science in ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD, HAPGOOD and ARCADIA; and determine the extent to which Stoppard argues for the importance of human action and choice.

Through critical analysis this study examined how Stoppard applies the quantum aspects of: (1) indeterminacy to human epistemology in ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD; (2) complementarity to human identity in HAPGOOD; and (3) recursive symmetry to human history in ARCADIA. It also examined how Stoppard excavates the complexities of human action, choice and identity through the lens of chaos theory and quantum science.

These findings demonstrated that Tom Stoppard is not merely juxtaposing quantum science and human interactions for the sake of drama; rather, by excavating the complexities of human action, choice and identity through the lens of chaos theory and quantum science, Stoppard demonstrates the fundamental connection between individuals and the post-Newtonian universe.

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