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Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

by Tom Stoppard

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead Themes

Little Words, Big Ideas

Language and Communication

In Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, the two title characters often play with words. They pun off of each other's words without much intention of moving their dialogue toward a set purpose. In...

Isolation

In Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, main characters Ros and Guil, when left alone in the play, often suffer from feelings of isolation. In the opening and closing scenes of the play, it is ju...

Manipulation

People use each other quite a bit in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, and part of the reason the main characters, Ros and Guil, are never in control of their situation is because they seem na...

Fear

In the opening of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, there is a long string of coin flips that come up heads, which frightens Guil, one of the main characters. He later attempts to reason throu...

Foolishness and Folly

In many ways, in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead it is the title characters' fault that they die. They are easily, and, at times, willingly manipulated. Not to mention, Ros and Guil spend a g...

Passivity

Ros and Guil may be at the center of the action in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, but they certainly don't drive it. It can be seen most clearly in Act II how they are just left to sit arou...

Versions of Reality

In Shakespeare's Hamlet, the play-within-a-play is packed within a clear context and is used by Hamlet to send a message to Claudius. For us as the audience of Stoppard's play, however, the distinc...

Fate and Free Will

This theme is introduced in the very first scene of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, where the long string of coins tosses coming up "heads" seems to suggest that the laws of probability have...

Mortality

So, you probably noticed that the word "dead" in the title Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, and that there is a lot of discussion of death in the play. Stoppard's play is intensely aware of t...

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