Torn Palimpsest and Recycled Time: Copenhagen and Conclusion

  • Jenni G. Halpin
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Literature, Science and Medicine book series (PLSM)


In Michael Frayn’s 1998 play, Copenhagen, complementarity works not only as an extended metaphor but also as a topic of discussion for the characters. These fictional versions of Niels and Margrethe Bohr and Werner Heisenberg work through unsatisfactory explanations for their motivations, increasing uncertainty about the reason for and content of their meeting during the Second World War. Rather than fulfilling the hope shared by these characters, the play shows that their effort—the building up of an incomplete picture from multiple frames of reference—and the preservation of uncertainty are what allow the play to end with a more complicated definition of justice than that with which it began and with the suggestion that this more-complicated justice has been obtained.


Complementarity Uncertainty Niels Bohr Werner Heisenberg 


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jenni G. Halpin
    • 1
  1. 1.Savannah State UniversitySavannahUSA

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