Comparision of Hamlet with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

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Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (R and G…) by Tom Stoppard is a transformation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet that has been greatly influenced due to an external contextual shift. The sixteenth century Elizabethan historical and social context, accentuating a time of questioning had specific values which are transformed and altered in Stoppard’s Existential, post two-world wars twentieth century historical and social context. The processes of transformation that are evident allow the shifts in ideas, values and external contexts to be clearly depicted. This demonstrates the significance of the transformation allowing new interpretations and ideas about reality as opposed to appearance, death and the afterlife and life’s purpose to be displayed, enabling further insight and understanding of both texts.

Shakespeare’s Hamlet was written in the sixteenth century Elizabethan historical context, where certainty was questioned and there was a growing importance of individuals and their choice as opposed to fate. Influenced by the Renaissance, Shakespeare wrote in the tradition of the revenge tragedy. Stoppard however, who was living in a time of disillusionment due to the tragedies of two world wars, was influenced by the existential movement. Disregarding the past and future due to a lack of trust, Stoppard wrote in a tradition known as the Theatre of the Absurd incorporating existentialism. He uses various processes to adapt and transform the values and ideas influenced by the sixteenth century Elizabethan context in Hamlet to reflect the twentieth century evasion of reality unless it is in a reflexive and directionless present.

In Hamlet, the value of truth incorporates the theme of appearance as opposed to reality and it links itself with the value of the individual and certainty. Appearance and reality is a dominant theme in Hamlet and in the Elizabethan time, truth was valued highly. Claudius’ character demonstrates the theme of appearance or reality in Act...
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