Thursday, February 28, 2013

Existentialism, hay

When I read Act 3 of Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead, I noticed a whole bunch of existential philosophy thrown in. Specifically, there's this one part where Rosencrantz recaps all the information they know so far and tries to decide where to go from there. That reminded me of the existential theory of facticity of situations. In Existentialist theory, one is advised to consider the facts that he or she knows (even though that may not be all of the information), work with what one has, and make a decision as best as one can based on the given information. I feel that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern did this several times throughout the play. Although they rarely make solid decisions, they continually attempt to deal with situations and take the best course of action that they can figure out.

5 comments:

Austin Falk said...

Another existentialist part of the play is how Rosencrantz and Guildenstern seem to lack purpose. They constantly sit back resigned and wait for someone to give them a purpose. Nothing is constant with them. They also seem to lack a lot of feelings. For example, they do not seem to care much when Hamlet disappears from the boat on the way to England. There are a lot of existentialists parts of this play.

wkuehne said...

Existentialism permeates R&G are dead. The gaze is evident in R&G are dead, but much less so than it is in No Exit. When R&G talk about reality being defined by society, it reminded me of the gaze. Things are only real if they are 1) able to be sensed and 2) experienced by everyone.

TSHAH said...

I've noticed a significant amount of existentialism in "Rosentcranntz and Guildenstern are Dead", however I've also noticed some non-existentialist factors mixed in through out the play. We discussed who exactly Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were outside of the play and came to the conclusion that they have no purpose outside of the play, but merely exist to be used in the greater scheme of things. R & G are almost like our puppets as they are thrown into various situations by another beings decisions (since their only purpose is to exist in the play), and they are not aware of the final result, however we as the audience do.

TSHAH said...

Sort of just had a tangent thought about the a"puppet" quality that R&G possess throughout the play. R&G have many questions which an answer is never provided for as the questions is often redirected into another question in a convoluted manner. R&G are characters who are mean to be left in the dark while we know the answers to their problems because of the lack of effectiveness in human communication. If we were able to communicate and provide direction for R&G, then they would not be in the predicament that they are in.

Ben Bonner said...

I think the major existentialist theme in the play is the question of individual action and choice. The play seems to follow the struggle of G and R to take action and make choices on their own initiative, and in doing so, create their identity. I also think we see a deal of "life is absurd" in the play, particularly in the 90 coin flips which all land on heads.