Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead
by Tom Stoppard
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead Manipulation 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.
PLAYER: Now for a handful of guilders I happen to have a private and uncut performance of The Rape of the Sabine Women – or rather woman, or rather Alfred – (Over his shoulder.) Get your skirt on, Alfred – (1.187).
Why does the Player's proposal here offend Guil just a moment later? How is he using Alfred? Is he just being a director or is there something more sinister going on?
PLAYER: They're hardly divisible, sir – well, I can do you blood and love without the rhetoric, and I can do you blood and rhetoric without the love, and I can do you all three concurrent or consecutive, but I can't do you love and rhetoric without the blood. Blood is compulsory – they're all blood, you see.
GUIL: Is that what the people want?
PLAYER: It's what we do. (1.260-262)
If blood may or may not be what the people want, is the player manipulating them into thinking that blood is what they want? Is this a power that writers and artists have in general – to determine people's tastes for them?
CLAUDIUS: Something have you heard
Of Hamlet's transformation, so call it,
Sith nor th'exterior nor the inward man
Resembles that it was. What it should be,
More than his father's death, that thus hath put him,
So much from th'understanding of himself,
I cannot dream of. I entreat you both
That, being of so young days brought up with him
And sith so neighboured to his youth and haviour
That you vouchsafe your rest here in our court
Some little time, so by your companies
To draw him on to pleasures, and to gather
So much as from occasion you may glean,
Whether aught to us unknown afflicts him thus,
That opened lies within our remedy. (1.287)
Considering that Claudius killed Hamlet's father and married his mother it seems like, if he has his wits about him, he should be able to figure out what's bothering Hamlet. If he might already know what is troubling him, why does he send in Ros and Guil? Is he also betraying Ros and Guil by asking them in such a manner that they won't recognize what they are doing as a betrayal of their friend?