Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead and Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five
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Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead and Vonnegut's
That we, people, are "bugs in amber" is one of the main
themes of Kurt Vonnegut's novel Slaughterhouse-Five; or
Children's Crusade. Tom Stoppard's play Rosencrantz and
Guildenstern are Dead is, in my opinion, very similar to this
book. While Slaugterhouse-Five is an American novel, a mixture of
the author's Second World War experiences and science fiction
genre, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead is a British play
set into William Shakespeare's Hamlet. What are these two
literary works similar in, then? It is the central theme. Both
works show that we are physically stuck in this world, our future
is already given, and we have no way of escaping our destiny.
Both writers provide a little room for their character's
imagination which is, in my opinion, crucial item of both
In this paper I will try to use Kurt Vonnegut's novel to
help me point out the major theme of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern
are Dead and to explain and clarify the theme's meaning and main
The main theme of Slaughterhouse-Five is expressed several
times throughout the novel. One of the examples is the passage
which shows (from the view of the Tralfamadorians -- alien
beings) that the future is given and that one cannot change it.
"All moments, past, present, and future, always have
existed, always will exist. The Tralfamadorians can look at all
the different moments just the way we can look at a stretch of
the Rocky Mountains, for instance." (Vonnegut:27)
Another passage of the novel describes the theme more directly.
It is the part when the Tralfamadorians kidnap Billy Pilgrim and
he asks "why?".
"Have you ever seen bugs trapped in amber?
Well, here we are, Mr. Pilgrim, trapped in the amber of this