Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead Research Paper

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  • Topic: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Death, Life
  • Pages : 4 (1217 words )
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  • Published : February 19, 2007
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Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead presents the audience with Shakespeare's Hamlet, as seen through the eyes of two characters whose actual tragic roles are so minimal; they can hardly be considered important parts of the original play. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are involved in a drama the meaning and import of which they can hardly grasp. Indeed, they cannot even manage to secure their own identities in the work. Stoppard specifically creates these characters in this manner so as to utilize them to present illogical ideas. Specifically, these characters act as tools to define the indefinable. Death has no definition, and yet, Stoppard manages to utilize Ros and Guil to give a clear explanation of death. For Stoppard, death is simply a state of mind. It does not exist beyond humanity's perception of it, because death is non-existence. This argument can be divulged from this work in numerous ways.

Stoppard's direct dialogue between his two main characters is an important explanation of death's nonexistence. Ros questions Guil towards the end of the play, "Do you think death could possibly be a boat?" Guil, obviously the brighter of the two, quickly responds, "No, no, no…Death is…not. Death isn't. You take my meaning. Death is the ultimate negative. Not-being. You can't not be on a boat." Ros misunderstands this stating, "I've frequently not been on boats." (Stoppard 108) These few lines of communication shared between the two characters demonstrate a sense of Stoppard's comedy, but much more importantly indicate Stoppard's view of his characters and their fated deaths. William Gruber comments that, "Both twisted syntax and twisted logic are appallingly true: wherever they are—on boats, on the road, within a court—it is the fate of Ros and Guil never to be." (Gruber 298) In fact, Ros and Guil never truly exist throughout the play because it is already fated they will die as they did in Shakespeare's work three hundred years ago, and thus...
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