Fences by August Wilson and Arcadia by Tom Stoppard.

We have closely studied two plays, Fences by August Wilson and Arcadia by Tom Stoppard. These plays, as you have noticed, are completely different from each other. One grows out of the American tradition of serious, tragic drama, which stretches back to the theatre of Eugene O’Neil, whereas the other springs from the British tradition of intellectual comedy that includes such playwrights as Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde, and William Congreve.

Despite their differences, both plays are fascinated (even obsessed) by the ways in which the past impinges on the present.

Write a four-page critical essay that examines some of the ways in which each play juxtaposes past and present:

How are Wilson and Stoppard different in this regard? What also makes them similar?

Base your ideas on specific features of each text. Although this is a speculative essay, try to give roughly equal attention to each play.

Incorporate something “relevant” (a piece of information, a critical statement or opinion) from each of the following sources: Understanding August Wilson

by Mary l. Bogumil and Science in Hapgood and ArcadiaPreview the document by Paul Edwards (The Cambridge Companion to Tom Stoppard). Make sure that these two references fit your argument.

Sample Solution