Comparision Of Hamlet With Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead

Better Essays
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (R and G…) by Tom Stoppard is a transformation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet that has been greatly influenced due to an external contextual shift. The sixteenth century Elizabethan historical and social context, accentuating a time of questioning had specific values which are transformed and altered in Stoppard’s Existential, post two-world wars twentieth century historical and social context. The processes of transformation that are evident allow the shifts in ideas, values and external contexts to be clearly depicted. This demonstrates the significance of the transformation allowing new interpretations and ideas about reality as opposed to appearance, death and the afterlife and life’s purpose to be displayed, enabling further insight and understanding of both texts.

Shakespeare’s Hamlet was written in the sixteenth century Elizabethan historical context, where certainty was questioned and there was a growing importance of individuals and their choice as opposed to fate. Influenced by the Renaissance, Shakespeare wrote in the tradition of the revenge tragedy. Stoppard however, who was living in a time of disillusionment due to the tragedies of two world wars, was influenced by the existential movement. Disregarding the past and future due to a lack of trust, Stoppard wrote in a tradition known as the Theatre of the Absurd incorporating existentialism. He uses various processes to adapt and transform the values and ideas influenced by the sixteenth century Elizabethan context in Hamlet to reflect the twentieth century evasion of reality unless it is in a reflexive and directionless present.

In Hamlet, the value of truth incorporates the theme of appearance as opposed to reality and it links ...

... middle of paper ...

...akespeare’s poetic language to colloquialism creates a new form of communication reflecting that the fear of death that claimed for so many by world wars, the influenza epidemic and the Depression, was pointless and unnecessary as life means nothing and as a result death means nothing either.

Context essentially is the base for all transformation and it influences the values of a society and how these values are expressed and interpreted. R and G… highlights the shift of the purposeless uncertainties of the contemporary context from the religious and social hierarchical certainties of Shakespeare’s social, cultural and historical contexts. The transformation processes evident demonstrate the concept that everyone questions and desires to know what is either reality or unknown, the meaning and certainty of death and the afterlife and ultimately the purpose of life.