Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead: Fate

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Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead Essay

In the play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead by Tom Stoppard there are many different themes that can be gleaned from the playoff of Hamlet. One of the main themes is the concept of fate. Fate, as defined by Random House Dictionary, is: something that unavoidably befalls a person (Fate). Rosencrantz and Guildenstern constantly deal with fate. It seems that they do not quite understand what this is. When discussing who dies with the Players Guildenstern asks, “Who decides?” to which the Player replies promptly, “Decides? It is written” (80). The player appears surprised that Guildenstern does not already comprehend that death, and the life before it is not something that is decided by
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I never forget a face” (82). While humorous, it is important to note that the players (who, save Alfred, are always regarded as simply: players) lose their individuality to the point of literally taking on the appearance of somebody else---Rosencrantz in this case. The final implication of their knowledge and even encouragement of fate in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern 's life is when Guildenstern asks, “What are we supposed to do?” and the player responds “This,” followed by laying down, implying death. The players are so connected to the concept of fate and it “playing” out that they may even be a part of the motif that fate is in the play. Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, and the players have a few subtle interactions in which the idea of fate is addressed strongly. Late in the play Guildenstern gets extremely angry at the players saying, “I 'm talking about death---and you 've never experienced that. And you cannot act it. You die a thousand casual deaths---with none of that intensity which squeezes out life” (123). Here Guildenstern not only implies that to have such knowledge of death he must have already experienced it himself, but he gets outraged over the fact death is not something that is acted, it is something that happens tragically, even accidentally with no way of truly knowing how to act such a thing. He proposes that death, and arguably the life before it must be at the
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