Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
 

Analysis

Literary Devices in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

A coin can only do one of two things. It can either come up heads or it can come up tails. As bets go, betting on the flip of a coin is pretty straightforward. Yet, in Stoppard's play, a coin toss...

Setting

The three settings in the three different acts of the play each tell us something about the current situation. In the first scene, Ros and Guil seem to be in a no-man's-land. In the film version, t...

Narrator Point of View

Though all works of literature present the author's point of view, they don't all have a narrator or a narrative voice that ties together and presents the story. This particular piece of literature...

Genre

The term tragicomedy is often used to describe a serious play with a happy ending. In the twentieth century, it was most famously used in Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot. It fits Stoppard's play...

Tone

It's hard to talk about tone in a play because it's all dialogue. There is no "narrator" who takes on a certain attitude toward the material that he writes about. It's always the characters speakin...

Writing Style

Stoppard may not be as devoted a minimalist as Beckett, but he certainly doesn't mince words. There are sometimes pages and pages where Ros and Guil swap phrases that are just a few words long. For...

What's Up With the Title?

The title gets plucked from the end of Shakespeare's Hamlet, when the ambassador comes back and announces to Horatio and Fortinbras [standing amidst the dead bodies of Hamlet, Claudius, Laertes, an...

What's Up With the Ending?

Let's start with a recap: The play ends with Guil attempting to stab the Player, who fakes his death only to stand up and reveal that the knife Guil used was a prop. The stage goes dark, leaving Gu...

Plot Analysis

Ros and Guil bet on the toss of a coin and the Player's troupe arrivesLet's just say right up front that this play doesn't exactly fit a classic plot analysis. There is a lot of waiting in the play...

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis: Tragedy

The coin tossing and the introduction of the TragediansThere's actually quite a bit of anticipation in the play, but at the very start, it's pretty unclear where it's going. Ros and Guil, as they a...

Three Act Plot Analysis

The point of no return is when Claudius asks Ros and Guil to figure out what is wrong with Hamlet and they agree without hesitation.There are many points when Ros and Guil are far from resolution,...

Trivia

Stoppard never attended college. He dropped out at age 17 due to academic boredom. Also, when Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead was performed at the National Theatre in London, it made Stoppard...

Steaminess Rating

Sex doesn't exactly abound in this play. It does come up in a few different sections though. First, when the Player keeps alluding to how Ros and Guil can get caught up in the action, he's basicall...

Allusions

Scenes from Shakespeare's Hamlet are interspersed throughout.The Rape of the Sabine Women is an episode in Plutarch's Lives (1.187)Socrates (3.205)When the player references "juvenile companies" he...
Advertisement
Advertisement
back to top