Comparing Stoppard's Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead

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In Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Tom Stoppard is demonstrating Rosencrantz and Guildenstern’s struggle to come to terms with Shakespeare and his rules. In a way, the “ghost of Shakespeare” haunts them throughout the play and creates a controlling environment as Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are trapped within the never-ending loop every time we start and finish reading the play. Stoppard writes the play within the boundaries of Hamlet, and the Player even declares that the rules by which they live in the play “[are] written,” it can be assumed, by Shakespeare (80). During the predetermined portions of Stoppard’s play, as in the scenes with the cast from Hamlet, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern appear secure in their scripted parts. However,…show more content…
Shakespeare characterizes life as moving from one state of dependency to another, first as an infant and finally as an elder. He is ultimately making the claim that all men are the same in life and will all end up the same in the end: death. Stoppard comments on this idea when the Player firmly tells Rosencrantz and Guildenstern that they are “nobody special” (66). Characterizing mankind as “players” implies that life is like a game, or a play, and that it will end eventually, despite what role you play. This idea that every man is equal in death is seen in Stoppard’s play when the Player explains that actors “can die heroically, comically, ironically, slowly, suddenly, disgustingly, charmingly, or from a great height” (83). Here the Player explains that an actor’s talent is dying, and by Shakespeare’s logic, mankind consists of actors. Stoppard shows the reader that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are stuck in an infinite loop and that they will forever be players on Shakespeare’s stage. Stoppard is trying to emphasize Shakespeare’s point that all men essentially follow the same path in life, just as Rosencrantz and Guildenstern follow the same cycle every time

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