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Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead and Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five

Satisfactory Essays
Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead and Vonnegut's

Slaughterhouse-Five

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

literary works.

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

message.

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
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