Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead
by Tom Stoppard
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead Language and Communication Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Act.Line). Every time a character talks counts as one line, even if what they say turns into a long monologue.
GUIL: We only know what we're told, and that's little enough. And for all we know it isn't even true.
PLAYER: For all anyone knows, nothing is. Everything has to be taken on trust; truth is only that which is taken to be true. It's the currency of living. There may be nothing behind it, but it doesn't make any difference so long as it is honoured. One acts on assumptions. What do you assume? (2.153-154)
How much of what we know is taken on someone else's word? How huge is the role that language plays in what we think we know about the world?
PLAYER: You understand, we are tied down to a language which makes up in obscurity what it lacks in style. (2.290)
Could the Player's description of the language he is forced to work with be taken as a larger accusation against twentieth century literature in general?
ROS: The sun's going down. (Pause.) It'll be night soon. (Pause.) If that's west. (Pause.) Unless we've –
GUIL (shouts): Shut up! I'm sick of it! Do you think conversation is going to help us now? (3.307-308)
How does conversation help Ros and Guil at other points in the play? What has changed by the end that makes Guil think it is useless?