Friday, March 1, 2013

Life in a Box

On page 71, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern talk about life in a box. Rosencrantz states that life in a box would be better than no life at all, which I feel is very true. I also think that living in a box is very symbolic of their lives. Their entire struggle and role throughout the play is to accomplish a task for Claudius so that they will be "free" and can "escape the box". I think that through this way of thinking, they both limit what they can do, and feel that this is definitely seen throughout the play. For example, when they're on the boat, they begin to talk about all that they can't do on a boat because they are essentially "trapped" and Rosencrantz even considers throwing himself overboard. He feels that death is the only escape and only relief from the life he's living, "trapped inside a box". I believe that maybe one of Stoppard's motives behind writing a play like this with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern was not only to create sort of a comedy, but to also make readers consider life and if it feels like a box to them. If it does, then he seems to portray the message to do something about it (not death, of course) and make it better. Go out and experience new things, meet new people, and better yourself as a human being.

5 comments:

Madeline Davis said...

I definitely agree with your point about Stoppard writing this as a plea for humans to escape their "boxes" and live their own, free lives. I think that with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Stoppard portrays the negative aspects of living in a box and the dangers of not asking questions and demanding answers, but simply accepting the reality that is handed to you. They make feeble attempts to ask questions, but constantly get confused with their purpose and lose their senses of self, continually dooming themselves to life in a box until their death is presented to them.

Michell D said...

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are examples of what life is like living in a box. They live their day to day lives (which they don't even remember) dictated by a greater power. There is no indication that they have any free will possible of releasing themselves from the box. They are too simple minded to escape the perpetual grip that life has on them. Stoppard is showing the reader how simpleminded people who don't ask questions are doomed to live meaningless lives like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern

Laura N said...

Life on the boat and life in a box are essentially the same. Stoppard might be saying that life with some direction, some purpose, or some aim for a destination (as on a boat) is somewhat better than living a stagnant, complacent, actionless one. On R&G's boat ride the still cannot act on their own freewill or judgment. they are incapable of making a decision and allow others to dictate their lives and for others to give them a purpose, such as the king commanding them to escort Hamlett to England. they just go along for the ride, and they dont steer the boat. Perhaps stoppard is saying that if you dont take charge of your own life, you deprive yourself of life and are trapped in a boat/box.

Ben Bonner said...

Personally, I don't think I would prefer eternity in a box to death. "Life in a box" is effectively Sartre's definition of hell in No Exit. I think Stoppard may be implying in this passage that life in a box, particularly in the intellectual sense, is not much different than death, and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern appear to be living in a box in that they don't make any decisions for themselves.

wkuehne said...

I think that Rosencrantz living in a box vs. dying dilemma is very similar to the conflict Hamlet faces in Shakespeare's play. Hamlet's to be or not to be speech faces the question of death, and what it means. Hamlet believes one would rather "live in a box" than die because there is certainty, and predictability when one lives in a box. Death is inevitable, but completely unpredictable and cannot be rationalized- something that humans fear.