Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Analysis

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For instance, in ‘Rosencrantz and Guildenstern’, the overarching theme of incomprehensibility and absurdity is explored through the coin-flipping scenes and throughout the play. In the opening scene, when Rosencrantz and Guildenstern flip a coin, it lands heads-up eighty-five times consecutively. Even then, although Guildenstern is ‘well alive to the oddity of it’, he attempts to make sense of the strange phenomenon, applying the mathematical law of probability to the problem and speculating each the next flip will yield different results. They never do, yet Guildenstern still insists that it would be weakness to ‘re-examine his faith’ and chooses to shield his eyes from the incomprehensibility and absurdity of the world around him. Throughout the book, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are often …show more content…
Despite this, ‘Rosencrantz and Guildenstern’ draws heavily upon ‘Hamlet’ for this theme. The questions pondered by Rosencrantz and Guildenstern (e.g. whether the dead are conscious, or in other words whether death is the absolute lack of consciousness) are in many ways a direct translation of Hamlet’s questions (e.g. the existence of an afterlife: “To sleep—perchance to dream…For in that sleep what dreams may come”).

‘Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead’ draws upon ‘Hamlet’ heavily in terms of themes, explorations and characters, and although Stoppard sometimes arrives at the same conclusions as Shakespeare, he goes about his exploration in a completely different way – through extreme absurdism rather than plot and action. Both plays attempt to reflect life, but whereas ‘Rosencrantz and Guildenstern’ expresses this through an exaggerated version life, ‘Hamlet’ places its hero at the centre of injustice and wrongdoing, and explores the nature of humanity through

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