Obviously, we had talked significantly about probability already. I just think that we have to consider the irrationality of fate as well. Am I digging too deeply into this? Did anybody else notice what I am noticing? Perhaps somebody sees another reason for Guil to desire unicorns? I think the discussion is important, as understanding the laws operating opun Ros and Guil is crucial to reading the play.
Saturday, March 19, 2011
Clarifying the Rules of Probability in Ros and Guil's World
In Act I of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, Guildenstern is frustrated by the breakdown in the typical rules of probability. As we said in class, the laws of probability relate the "fortuitous" and "ordained" in a "union known as nature." Thus, their disruption makes fate just as obscure as chance. I think this is an important point, especially when one considers how Guil and Ros act differently toward the inexplicable occurrence. Ros simply accepts the streak of heads as a new universal rule; he sees no chance in the coin toss. Guil, on the other hand, tries to find a rational reason for the streak. However, he recognizes that implication that he is now at the mercy of fate and other supernatural rules. Here we must make an important distinction: probability's failure clearly affects chance, but it also affects fate. As we see later in the act, one coin comes of tails, destroying Ros's ability to expect heads mindlessly. Through his syllogisms on page 17, we see that Guil also deduces that he cannot be in a world controlled solely by the supernatural. This realization perturbs him further, as we see on page 21 when he wishes for unicorns. How can he exist in a reality operated neither by probability nor the supernatural? Reality can be just as arbitrary and inscrutable as divine will; the rules governing the universe change. Thus, fate is just as unpredictable as, well, chance.