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Comparing Shakespeare's Hamlet and Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

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Hamlet is undoubtedly one of the most well-studied and remembered tragedies in all of history. Renowned for its compelling soliloquies and thought-provoking discussions about life, death, and love, the play takes a very serious look at the topics it presents. Based on this famous work is another tragedy, known as Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. In this work, which is interwoven with the original, the namesake characters bumble about in the immense world, over which they have no control. Without a sense of identity or purpose, the two merely drift to and fro at the whim of the larger forces around them; namely Hamlet, who eventually leads them to death. The twin plays follow the same story and end with the same result – nine deaths.…show more content…
Not only this, but Hamlet makes it clear that he would willingly give up his life at that point. This reinforces the idea that the Prince considers death a release; the solution to all of his troubles. At this point, it is clear to the audience that Hamlet regards death in a positive, almost welcoming manner. In his eyes, it will restore the natural order of things to their predetermined equilibrium. One of the most famous lines of the play, and probably in all of English literature, is from Hamlet’s third soliloquy. "To be, or not to be: that is the question,” Hamlet asks himself, before launching into a full-blown internal clash over life and death. He considers suicide; it would offer him release from everything wrong in his life. However, he is finally scared of death. He doesn’t know whether God will accept him, or even what awaits him in the world beyond his own. Despite the fear of death displayed by many characters in this play, Hamlet still provides a calmly accepting, even welcoming view of death. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead does just the opposite. The protagonists, derived from two minor characters in the original play, are bewildered by their world and their fate. Without a sense of identity or purpose, these two drift through their lives at the will of others. “Death followed by eternity; the worst of both worlds. It is a terrible thought,” says
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