Hamlet was one of two inspirations for Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. I believe the play Hamlet was a little absurd, especially in the extreme role vengeance played, and how almost every character died in the end. Nothing was really accomplished in the play Hamlet, except how Fortinbras reclaimed his land.
There was not a "good guy" in Hamlet or a philosophy that the reader should be able to support, much like in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. The end of Hamlet was surprisingly hopeful, in the way of how Fortinbras came in and took over leadership of the country. This change of power symbolizes how with the change of generations, the generation of thought changes as well.
Even though this play was written in 1964, it is set back into Hamlet's time and features the two minor characters of Hamlet, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Part of the lines are from Hamlet and are line for line the same thing, minus the movements of the characters. The rest of the scenes were written by Tom Stoppard and are all original, but the scenes are very clearly inspired by the absurdest quality of other writers.
The storyline follows Hamlet's, but at the same time the views are separate; Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is a completely different play. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is written from a different perspective; this perspective has more views from Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is almost as if you are reading the entire play of Hamlet in a completely new context.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead follows both Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, and they both ponder on all sorts of things just as they did when they were developing in Hamlet, and the play ends with their deaths...
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...d during your lifetime. But then he hopes that we will step up, and he wants us to take control of our lives, and to become more like Fortenbras in the was that we gets things done.
Hamlet and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead are very different in their views and purpose they were written and serve. Both of the pieces of writing have different values, character attitudes and each play off of the existence of the other and challenge understanding of the other. But they are still very similar, they both address similar issues, themes and concerns throughout the development of the plays. As a feed off of Hamlet, Stoppard challenges the values and attitudes of the renaissance era and Shakespearean Era while expanding our reading content and viewpoints of Hamlet by giving us a contrasting viewpoint and making the audience think about the assumptions made about them.