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Taken from Hamlet, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoddard

Decent Essays
William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet is one of the most influential texts in western thought. Tom Stoppard took advantage of how widely known the play was and wrote his own play entitled, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, as a ploy off of the final lines of the play Hamlet. Stoppard’s play is “a play within a play” to some extent; he took two of Shakespeare’s flat characters and gave them life. The play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead follows the story of Hamlet’s friends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in their journey through the play Hamlet. Tom Stoppard’s play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, displays many themes or messages, three of which being identity, motivation, and death.
Identity becomes a major theme in this play
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In the play R&G Are Dead, they say repeatedly, “we were sent for…” meaning that they traveled because it was expected of them. On a daily basis, how many decisions does one make that are really a complete choice for themselves? And are those decisions significant? It seems that in daily life, all the decisions that are important are made for us by others. Along with this question, one is inclined to ask, “Will I ever be really free?” When R&G are on the boat to England, it is said, “Maybe I’ll just jump off the boat, that’ll put a spoke in their wheel. Unless they want me to jump off the boat…I’ll stay on the boat.” This line is an example to the viewer that one lives their life always with the thoughts of the wills of others in their mind, influencing their decisions. After R&G realize their fate awaiting them in England, one man says “There must have been a moment when we could have said ‘no’…” For the majority of our own being, we don’t choose anything about ourselves. One is not allowed to choose their parents, their race, the language they speak, the place they live/are raised, etc. With all these realizations, one begins to question if they could ever be “free.” For the entirety of one’s life, one will have obligations that can restrict said “freedom.” One begins to wonder when in life is a person the most free? The theme of death arises as a major them in the play R&G Are Dead, with Stoppard prompting us to think about our own mortality. In act two,
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