Re-read Act One, Scene Three and discuss Stoppard’s presentation of the relationship between Septimus Hodge and Thomasina Coverly in this extract and one other point in the play.
Stoppard preliminarily presents the relationship of Septimus and Thomasina as merely teacher and pupil, as displayed in scene three when Septimus is discussing the loss of knowledge; ‘We shed as we pick up… and what we let fall will be picked up by those behind.’ However, as the play progresses, it is established that there is much more to their relationship than teaching and the sharing of intellect; there is emotion and love involved too.
The play begins with a humorous introduction into the relationship between Thomasina and Septimus. Stoppard begins the play by highlighting Thomasina's youth and curiosity, "Septimus, what is carnal embrace," while Septimus desperately attempts to engage her attention in learning about theories. This adds a humourous aspect to the play that entertains the audience, in addition to creating dramatic irony, as the audience already knows the answer to the question; it illustrates Thomasina’s youth and naivety.
Later on in the play, Thomasina states ‘if mama comes I will tell her we only met to kiss, not to waltz.’ Septimus does not immediately understand that she intends to learn how to dance rather than insinuating she wants to sleep with him, however she then continues to ask him up to her bedroom. The fact that Septimus initially states ‘I cannot,’ and turns down the offer to join Thomasina in her room highlights that he thinks far more of her than Mrs Chater and illustrates the love, as opposed to lust, he feels for her.
Though the ending is quite ambiguous, the audience is aware that Thomasina is going to die in the fire and Septimus becomes a hermit at Sidley Park; who eventually goes insane trying to prove Thomasina’s theorems to be correct, again acting as evidence for his strong love for her.