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 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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