Thursday, February 28, 2013

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead gives you a new take on the original play, Hamlet


As we have been discussing Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, I noticed how it really causes you to think about the original play, Hamlet, in a different light.  Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are not mentioned much in Hamlet but in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, they are the main focus.  In Hamlet, I always thought Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were just simple characters, however, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead caused me to learn a lot more about the characters and actually feel some sympathy for them.  We have seen this same type of thing in literature before.  Last year, we read Beowulf, which was the story about a monster named Grendel attacking a town.  This made Grendel look like a horrible monster.  However, after when we read the actual story of Grendel, we learn more about Grendel himself and actually gain sympathy for him.

5 comments:

Tyler Dean said...

I agree, the play definitely gave me a different view on the original. I, however, do not feel sympathy for them. They are dumb, plain and simple, and they had so many obvious opportunities on the boat to tear apart the letter. They could not do anything without direction or orders, so I feel they brought their own deaths upon themselves. Their inability to find their own identities and to make their own decisions keeps them from saving their own lives.

Ian J said...

I think that through seeing Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, and also Grendel, in a different light, we are able to see their emotions and feelings. For example, in the play "Hamlet", I viewed Rosencrantz and Guildenstern as complete idiots who were in the play just to be placeholders and perform simple tasks. The same reasoning applies to Grendel. When I read the story from Grendel's point of view, I learned that he too had emotions like the humans he attacked. He, like the villagers, was sensitive to things done to him or to prevent him from acting out against them. The perspectives of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern also allow for a more in depth knowledge of what is going on in the story and in "Hamlet".

Michell D said...

My favorite part of the Hamlet comparison is how Rosencrantz and Guildenstern discuss all of the loose ends and how they will be solved. There are many times in "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead" where we are just watching them sit around and talk because Shakespeare did not focus on them at that time of the play. We cannot expect people to write plays and include every single thing that every minor character experiences, so it's funny to see people liken Stoppard come around and fill in the empty spaces. The other day i was thinking that it would be cool to write one story and make a bunch of spinoff books from the same story. That way I could have maximum profit from the main story by including the backgrounds of the minor characters. The only problem is it would have to be a really good book for people to care about the side characters.

wkuehne said...

I agree. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern as characters are scrutinized by Stoppard, which is an interesting choice of characters. Hamlet could just have easily been chosen. Stoppard's choice was probably infuenced by existentialism. If a character has a sense of duty or purpose they don't live in the moment and make choices as they go, which R&G can do. Hamlet has too much responsibility to flip coins. It wouldn't fit into the play, but Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are ambiguously defined by Shakespeare and are therefore perfect candidates for Stoppard's play.

Ben Bonner said...

With regards to what Tyler said, I think that if we choose to view the play as an existentialist work, we can view Rosencrantz and Guildenstern as metaphors for people in general. In these two characters, I think stoppard is trying to exaggerate the characteristics of the greater part of society. I think he is suggesting that dumbness and lack of initiave which personify these two afflict much of the population. I think he is trying to make the audience aware of its bad faith by exaggerating it in these two.