Theatre Of The Absurd In R+G

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Stoppard's absurd comedy, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is a transformation of the Shakespeare's revenge tragedy Hamlet. They both contain common characters and events but are separated by their historical, social and literary contexts. The plays are also different in language, theatrical style, values, character and themes.

Shakespeare's Hamlet and Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead are different because of the different time periods. Shakespeare's Hamlet was written in the 1602, in the Elizabethan times, when the Church of England was well established and the start of the renaissance period had occurred. Whereas Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead was written in the 1960's a time of absurdism, existentialism and experimentation; life and authority were questioned and sex, drugs and rock and roll were in; everything was against the norm and there was no church or monarchy dominant.

The aim's of the two plays is also very alternate. In Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead the aim is to leave the audience confused and with many questions, but in Hamlet the aim is very different, it is for enjoyment to the viewers.

In Stoppard's play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead life, death and morals are questioned, for example, when Guildenstern is speaking to the Player, he explains death as, 'It's just a man failing to reappear, that's all- now you see him, now you don't, and that's the only thing that's real'.

Also in Hamlet this occurs, Hamlet contemplates life, death and suicide, this is done through various soliloquies spread throughout the play, for example 'to die, to sleep- No more; and by a sleep to say we end'.

The characters in Shakespeare's Hamlet and Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead are very much different; and of course all the roles are reversed. In the play Hamlet, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern and the player all play very minor roles they are even mixed up at times (For example when Claudius confuses them and Gertrude corrects him "Claudius: Thanks Rosencrantz, and gentle Guildenstern. Gertrude: Thanks Guildenstern, and gentle Rosencrantz). Whereas in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead characters are all inverted and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern now share main roles with the player. Characters such as Hamlet and Ophelia now acquire non- speaking roles or have their scene behind the main scene of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.

In Shakespeare's play Hamlet, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern have a purpose, there purpose is to subconsciously help Claudius kill Hamlet,

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