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'Arcadia' Quotes

Tom Stoppard's Famous Play

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Arcadia is one of the most amazing modern plays. Written by Tom Stoppard, the play carries us back and forth through time, as we discover something about history, literature, and more than just a little bit about ourselves. Here are a few quotes from Arcadia.
  • "When you stir your rice pudding, Septimus, the spoonful of jam spreads itself round making red trails like the picture of a meteor in my astronomical atlas. But if you stir backwards, the jam will not come together again. Indeed, the pudding does not notice and continues to turn pink just as before. Do you think this is odd?"
    - Tom Stoppard, Arcadia

  • "If you could stop every atom in its position and direction, and if your mind could comprehend all the actions thus suspended, then if you were really, really good at algebra you could write the formula for all the future; and although nobody can be so cleaver to do it, the formula must exist just as if one could."
    - Tom Stoppard, Arcadia

  • "If you knew the algorithm and fed it back say ten thousand times, each time there'd be a dot somewhere on the screen. You'd never where to expect the next dot. But gradually you'd start to see this shape."
    - Tom Stoppard, Arcadia

  • "You are mistaken. I made love to your wife in the gazebo. She asked me to meet her there, I have her note somewhere, I dare say I could find it for you, and if someone is putting it about that I did not turn up, by God, sir, it is a slander."
    - Tom Stoppard, Arcadia

  • "We shed as we pick up, like travellers who must carry everything in their arms, and what we let fall will be picked up by those behind. The procession is very long and life is very short. We die on the march. But there is nothing outside the march so nothing can be lost to it. The missing plays of Sophocles will turn up piece by piece, or be written again in another language. Ancient cures for diseases will reveal themselves once more. Mathematical discoveries glimpsed and lost to view will have their time again. You do not suppose, my lady, that if all of Archimedes had been hiding in the great library of Alexandria, we would be at a loss for a corkscrew?"
    - Tom Stoppard, Arcadia

  • "Oh, you're going to zap me with penicillin and pesticides. Spare me that and I'll spare you the bomb and aerosols. But don't confuse progress with perfectibility. A great poet is always timely. A great philosopher is an urgent need. There's no rush for Isaac Newton. We were quite happy with Aristotle's cosmos. Personally, I preferred it. Fifty-five crystal spheres geared to God's crankshaft is my idea of a satisfying universe. I can't think of anything more trivial than the speed of light. Quarks, quasars - big bangs, black holes - who gives a shit? How did you people con us out of all that status? All that money?"
    - Tom Stoppard, Arcadia

  • "I'd push the lot of you over a cliff myself. Except the one in the wheelchair, I think I'd lose the sympathy vote before people had time to think it through."
    - Tom Stoppard, Arcadia

  • "It is a defect of God's humour that he directs our hearts everywhere but to those who have a right to them."
    - Tom Stoppard, Arcadia

  • "It's the wanting to know that makes us matter."
    - Tom Stoppard, Arcadia

  • "When we have found all the meanings and lost all the mysteries, we will be alone, on an empty shore."
    - Tom Stoppard, Arcadia

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