Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead is a poetic play about discovery, disorientation, and inevitability, and it uses structure with repeated elements, and time of events and how shifts occur, as well as symbolism, skillfully wrought in adherence to these particular themes. Repeated elements include physics, probability, and reference to heads, winds, and ships. Disregarded discovery and creation is also used recurrently, perhaps as a demonstrated exercise in futility are also is established, since Rosencrantz often discovers or creates new things (often relating to physics) and Guildenstern scornfully dismisses them. Probability and heads are both toyed with in the initial repetition of the exposition involving a coin. Disorientation is obvious in the characters as they have a difficult time figuring out why they 're there, what they are doing, what their roles are, and even what their names are and who they are. They o...
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...s themselves. Near the end of the play, Guildenstern demands of the head actor that he wants and deserves answers, after having gone through the entire play and journey utterly confused, also faced with his own eminent death. The rapid fire speech helps drive the entire story while simultaneously structurally underlining important points and messages. It also guarantees that the audience must pay close attention in order to catch the words and discussion of the characters and understand their meaning (and possibly double-meaning.)
Stoppard masterfully uses structure in transitions, symbolism, repetitive elements, and dialogue to drive this play smoothly to fruition and conclusion while deftly drawing out the themes, questions, and elements he addresses in the story. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead is truly a masterful work of existentialist art.
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