Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead Essay

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  • Topic: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Hamlet, Coin flipping
  • Pages : 3 (958 words )
  • Download(s) : 934
  • Published : October 7, 2011
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Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead, written by Tom Stoppard in 1967, is a play which epitomizes the "Theatre of the absurd." Stoppard develops the significant theme of the Incomprehensibility of the World through the main characters of the play, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern spend the majority, if not, the entirety of the play in utter confusion as to what is happening around them and lack knowledge of even the most basic of things, such as who they are. "My name is Guildenstern and this is Rosencrantz. I'm sorry - his name's Guildenstern and I'm Rosencrantz." In the opening of the play the two men are unaware of where they intend to go or how they began their journey, and in the ending of the play their state of confusion is portrayed in their final moments of life. "I don't begin to understand", says Guildenstern. From the beginning to the end of the play these two characters are generally confused and cannot comprehend the world around them, despite the fact that they do attempt to understand the world and their surroundings.

In the first act of the play, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are shown wandering through the wilderness flipping a coin repetitively, every outcome of the flip being heads. While Guildenstern worries about the improbability of a coin landing on heads so many times in a row, Rosencrantz happily continues flipping. Guildenstern questions whether the continuous outcome of heads is purely chance or if there are supernatural forces. Guildenstern then commences his syllogism where he tries to make sense of the continuous outcome of heads but eventually ends up on the topic of the growth of fingernails. Stoppard has shown this character's attempt to understand such occurrences in the world but Guildenstern does not make progress or come to a reasonable conclusion. The two characters are perplexed as to where they are going, what their purpose is and what they want to do. "What are you going to do now - I...
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