Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Ros & Guil

I really enjoyed reading Rosencratz and Guildenstern Are Dead. In the beginning I thought they were already dead, and that the play took place in the "void" they now resided in. This would give some rationality to why the coins kept flipping heads, why they could no longer remember themselves, and why everything seemed so disorienting. Unfortunately I was wrong, but I do like the way the play gave substance to a seemingly unimportant scene. It's interesting how Stoppard makes us question free will and fate through an actual play which, of course, makes it ironic that his characters cannot operate freely at all. I think it's also interesting to note that Stoppard criticizes what humans think of death and how we interpret it. We see it, according to Ros and Guil, as romantic and passionate and theatrical, but in reality it is only the absence of someone and no matter how theatrically executed, nothing will fill the hole left behind.

PS. Here's a clip of Benedict Cumberbatch (AKA Sherlock) playing Rosencratz in a production of Rosencratz and Guildenstern Are Dead on PBS.

4 comments:

Brooke M. Hathaway said...

Benedict Cumberbatch.. #swoonfest.

Probably one of my favorite scenes was when Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are talking about death on the ship with the Player. Probably my favorite line is when Guildenstern says to the Player, "But no one gets up after death- there is no applause- there is only silence and some second-hand clothes, and that's- death" (123). When I read it I thought about our discussion of Pre-Modernism vs. Modernism vs. Post-Modernism. As Mrs. Quinet pointed out, much of Pre-Modernism centered around that idea that an individual's meaning comes from authority, such as God, the Church, ect. Much of that authority is centered around the idea that the next life is the one to focus on, not life on Earth. I think Guildenstern's thoughts about death are so strikingly Modern/Post-Modern and opposing to Pre-Modernism.

Miranda Martinez said...

I agree. I'd say his ideas are definitely Post-Modern as well. I loved when they argued about death during the ship scene. Not only was it hilarious, but Guil really makes a good point about absolute authority.

Megan Hoolahan said...

I also really enjoyed this scene. Most people do fear death. However, if you are religious, you are typically supposed to believe in an afterlife or a state of being that is far greater than life itself. What's so scary about that? If you are not religious or spiritual, you typically believe that death means the end of your existence. The only thing we fear about death is our false perception of death. We only fear being alive in a box rather than not existing at all. I still can't decide which is scarier...

Joseph D'Amico said...

I really liked the play too. I never thought that they were dead, but now that you mentioned it, I could see why you might. Both actors in the clip did a very good job; that is exactly how I pictured Rosencrantz and Guildenstern would act. I definitely agree that it is a post-modern play, and that the ideas it presents about death are nontraditional.