Newton's Hooke

Author Pinner, David
Year 2004


Kasmana:A play about Isaac Newton and Robert Hooke which presents "the dark side" of Newton. Emphasis is put on his egotism (not only does he think that he is incomparably brilliant, but he also seems to think that he is somehow divine as evidenced by his birthdate coinciding with Christmas), and his cruelty (both to those with whom he is intimate and to his professional "enemies").The author does a good job of presenting without bias the difficult question of whether Newton deserves all of the credit he receives for the invention of calculus and laying the foundations of physics. At times during the play, one is convinced that Newton is nothing more than a jerk who took credit for all of the good ideas of the people around him, while at other times it seems instead that the others are just jealous of his genius and are unwilling to admit how much more he can do than they can.In the play, Newton is presented as a repressed homosexual. I do not know what historical evidence there is to support this thesis one way or another, but it is presented believably. We see Isaac becoming emotionally intimate with two young men who are mesmerized by his brilliance, but both eventually leave him disappointed by his cruelty to them and his inability to come to grips with who he is.