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HAMLET/ ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD

Uploaded by vdg on Nov 23, 2003

HAMLET/ ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD

Question: In any transformation, the more recently composed text will have greater appeal towards contemporary audiences. Discuss this statement?

In the process of transforming the older text, Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead is an absurdist plat, which is better adapted to contemporary situations. Tom Stoppard has transformed the once traditional values from Hamlet, presenting them in a comical context with greater appeal among modern audiences. The recent text deals with a number of fundamental issues and presents new ways of thinking or evaluating society. Stoppard shifts the focus away from the world of the court, to that of two ordinary men, who we can relate to much more closely in a modern context.
Although relying heavily on Hamlet’s framework, Stoppards’s play has been transformed in such a way that not only has he expanded on Shakespeare’s themes, but he also develops key points of difference. Using the notion of the ‘common man’, Stoppard reveals a dramatic shift of importance as it reflects modern society. In doing so, Stoppard has made the issues in Hamlet much more personal as Rosencrantz’s and Guildenstern’s fate and fears are also ours. In Act one, Guildenstern asks “are we entitled to some direction?”. Rosencrantz who states “we have no control…none at all” later reinforces this. The characters are clearly powerless against their fate, as they have no control throughout the play. Stoppard incorporates the idea of predetermined fate into his play as it largely represents the views of contemporary audiences. Moving the play to the world of ordinary people, allows Stoppard to portray the modern condition of human existence with greater precision.
Notions of fate and destiny are central to both plays. Implicit in Shakespeare’s Hamlet is the idea that characters have the ability to control their actions. This can be seen in the case of Hamlet who is constantly faced with a battle of personal ‘choice’. He chooses to avenge his father’s death, to duel with Laertes and not to kill Claudius during prayer. In other words, Hamlet appears to direct action himself and is never influenced by outside forces. This is in direct contrast to Stoppard’s play, where Rosencrantz and Guildenstern rely on other characters for guidance and direction. As Guildenstern suggests, “there must have been a moment, at the beginning, where we could have said – no”. This reinforces the idea that both...

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Uploaded by:   vdg

Date:   11/23/2003

Category:   Hamlet

Length:   5 pages (1,217 words)

Views:   1659

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