Hamlet and Rosencrantx and Guildenstern Are Dead

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Compare and contrast the ways in which the two plays Hamlet and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead reflect the values of the contexts in which they were written.

The plays Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead by Tom Stoppard and Hamlet by William Shakespeare were composed in vastly different contexts and the nature of the plays greatly reflect the context in which they were composed. Hamlet is clearly a product of the times of the early 17th century as Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead is a product of the Swinging Sixties as it has very modern views on many issues that have been raised throughout time.

A common feature in both plays which represented the context in which the plays were composed was the obvious pre-occupation with morality. In Elizabethan times death was accepted more as a normal event as people did not live to be very old and there was an obvious pre-occupation with the idea of mortality and the afterlife. Hamlet is no exception to this as the play is concerned with death from the start, as we learn that Hamlet’s father had been killed. It is not strange at all that the ghost of Hamlet’s father appears and speaks to him. This reflects the context in which it was composed. People used to be entertained by such encounters with the dead in plays and believed strongly in death and an afterlife. The number of deaths that occur in Hamlet is also not surprising as audiences in Elizabethan times were very much pre-occupied with dying and felt comfortable watching it on stage. They also remained true to their beliefs that tragedy could only happen to famous figures. This is partly due to the distinct social classes in England at the time and it was not considered a tragedy so much if a peasant died. Therefore Hamlet is a product of an Elizabethan context in that it is pre-occupied with mortality throughout the play and audiences were comfortable with it because of their strong religious beliefs.

Tom Stoppard, however, took two sideline...
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