Waiting for Godot and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

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In both Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead by Tom Stoppard, the language and tone of the plays create a lack of purpose of the lives for the characters in their plays. Both plays were written during the time of the Theatre of the Absurd. The Absurdist movement was used to show a sense of senselessness of the human condition. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead follows two men who are clinging onto their royal summons from King Claudius for meaning, but fail to act independently when the opportunity arises. The reactive nature of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern is demonstrated through the impotence and uselessness of their words in the times that there is a chance to act. Similarly, in Waiting for Godot, with double meaning and a circular structure of their words, Gogo and Didi struggle to exercise their wills while waiting for Godot. The seeming futility of language in the plays is a device used by the playwrites to illustrate the degeneration of the human condition and the message of the theatre of the Absurd: existential fatalism.

In Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, the language of the Player is important in indicating themes throughout the play. One way death is prominent throughout the play is through the language used by the Player. When the Player is talking to the Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, he says, “I should concentrate on not losing your heads.” Not only does this carry a symbol of death, but also foreshadows the imminent deaths of the two main characters. The language of the Player is used to indicate themes in the play, such as the time when he says, “every exit being an entrance somewhere else.” This quote is one of the most important quotes in the entire play. The Player is telling Rosencrantz and Guildenstern that even if they exit, they will enter somewhere else. So, at the end of the play, when they are killed, they do not die, they simply exit the stage for the first time the entire play. This...
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