Comparision Of Hamlet With Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead

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Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (R and G…) by Tom Stoppard is a transformation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet that has been greatly influenced due to an external contextual shift. The sixteenth century Elizabethan historical and social context, accentuating a time of questioning had specific values which are transformed and altered in Stoppard’s Existential, post two-world wars twentieth century historical and social context. The processes of transformation that are evident allow the shifts in ideas, values and external contexts to be clearly depicted. This demonstrates the significance of the transformation allowing new interpretations and ideas about reality as opposed to appearance, death and the afterlife and life’s purpose to be …show more content…
Claudius’ character demonstrates the theme of appearance or reality in Act One, through adopting an act as though he is grieving the loss of his brother. This is demonstrated in the line, “and that it us befitted/to bear our hearts in grief, and our whole kingdom/ to be contracted in one brow of woe”.

However, his tone of sorrow is really an appearance, as it was Claudius himself who murdered Hamlet Senior. This is proven in Claudius’ soliloquy, the second climax to the play when he is praying. “O, my offence is rank; it smells to heaven…a brother’s murder”. His tone is filled with guilt and it is here the value of truth is displayed. Elizabethan’s would have seen Claudius’ deception and value the truthfulness of this climactic soliloquy, in a social context that recognised sin and believed in God’s punishment and reward.

This is juxtaposed by Stoppard in R and G… through using the Player to proclaim that everyone is acting. When Guildenstern asks the Player “aren’t you going to change into your costume?” the Player replies “I never change out of it, sir”. This concept symbolises how life is a continual pretence and we all play act the life roles that are predetermined.

Hamlet also uses the players to determine the reality of the ghost reflecting how he is questioning reality in general. This can be linked with Guildenstern’s [Guil] speech in R and G … about the unicorn and Guil, along with Hamlet,
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