Comparing Arcadia And An Experiment With An Air Pump

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In this essay i will be looking at the two plays ‘Arcadia’ by Tom Stoppard, and ‘An Experiment With An Air Pump’ by Shelagh Stephenson, a play inspired by the painting An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump by Joseph Wright. I will be looking at how both plays are structured and staged and discussing why it is done in those particular styles. ‘An Experiment With An Air Pump’ include two plots, one of which is set in 1799 and the other in 1999. The two stories are set in the same large house in Newcastle, England. In the 1999 plot, the genetics scientist Ellen, and her husband Tom, who is an english lecturer, find themselves packing their things to move out of their home as they cannot afford it keep it any longer. As well as them moving house, Ellen is apprehensive to the new job position she has been offered, asking her to be a part of a new genetics company that her friend Kate already works for. The offer is financially appealing, but Ellen is worried by the moral implications. She talks through her worries with Kate and her husband and Phil and these conversations are the basis of the scenes set in 1999. In the storyline based in…show more content…
Armstrong really reveals his sexist nature early on in the play in a conversation between Fenwick and himself when he says ‘She loves it. Every',woman loves a compliment.’ (stephenson, 2000, p.25). He also makes it very clear that there is no place for a woman when science is involved. "This goes to prove the point I was making earlier, sir: Keep infants away from the fireplace and women away from science." (Stephenson, 2000, p.5). This contrasts lovely with the scenes based in 1999, where Ellen is being offered a new job with a genetics company, which will offer her enough money to pull out of selling her house. I think this was cleverly written as it shows how times have changed when it comes to science and woman working in

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