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Tom Stoddard Takes Characters from Shakespeare's Hamlett and Develops Them in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

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A person is created by the experiences they go through and by the things they learn throughout their life. It is the question of who each individual is and what makes up their identity. Writers, no matter the type, have been addressing the issue of identity for thousands of years. One playwright who stands out in this regard is Shakespeare and his play Hamlet. The play continually questions who the individuals are and what makes up the person they are. Yet another play can be associated with Shakespeare’s masterpiece, as Tom Stoppard takes the minor characters in Hamlet and develop them into something more in his play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. The twentieth century reinvention of the supporting characters from Hamlet,…show more content…
Not only does Stoppard demonstrate a powerful message in regards to ones identity, he uses is knowledge of language to confuse, represent, and contain the meaning of a word of phrase to those in the audience. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, is full of linguistic confusion demanding the attention of the audience otherwise they would not understand the course of the plot. The two main characters seem to have forgotten their past and they only know what others have told them. Because the words of others are all they have to go on they do as others say because it is what they believe they should be doing. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern begin the play flipping a coin which will only land on heads, this use of the word “heads” is a comic representation or foreshadowing of what is to come for the two yet they have no way of knowing what will later happen to them. As the play goes on the two are affronted with different linguistic exchanges each of which has an important meaning that is easily lost to an audience if they do not seek to see the true meaning of the words which are spoken throughout the course of the play. Finally, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead addresses the topic of human motivation and the relationship between life and death. The play questions the
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