Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Analysis

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The purpose and uncertainty of life and the indeterminate nature of death have puzzled mankind since the dawn of civilization. Minds of great men have wandered through numerous books and meditations only to deduce the same answer: the course of life is paved with inconstancy and death continues to remain a mystery; the only assurance mankind has is the inevitability of death. Danish philosopher, Kierkegaard’s argues that life is a series of choices – and that these choices bring meaning (or not) to our life – is a cornerstone of existentialism. It is our sole responsibility to make life meaningful instead of waiting for society or religion to either shape or bless our state of being with some sort of meaning that would give us reassurance,…show more content…
There is a certain degree of dramatic irony in the title: by adding the phrase “are dead” it becomes clear that the fate of these two “smiling accomplices” have been. Also, the name of the play would lead one to believe that perhaps the storyline is a follow-up to Shakespeare’s play, picking up where he left off, which, however, is not the case. It is worth noting that since it is an intertextual work, the audience is aware of the plot from the onset; it is known that all the characters in this play will meet their deaths eventually but why indicate their destiny in the title? This brings to fore Beauvoir’s notion of stagnancy resembling death. From the very beginning of the play, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are moving towards an inexorable destination. However, they are completely unaware of this fate themselves. For most of the play, they wander around the stage utterly confused as to where they are or what they are doing. Their inability to find meaning as they march unknowingly to their final destination becomes increasingly evident through the structure of events within the play. Although they are struggling to grasp at what has brought them to this state or how they would “glean what afflicts him [Hamlet]” (40), the…show more content…
Stoppard magnifies these two characters from a trivial position to one of importance. Throughout the play, it often seems that Guildenstern is the only rational being who has something reasonable to say about death; it is as if he understands they will be thrown into an abyss from where there is no coming back and in no circumstances should this end be taken lightly. It cannot be acted out as the Play claims. However, Guildenstern’s concern and fear of death is a denial of Heidegger’s ‘being-towards-death’. “It is only in being-towards-death that one can become the person who one truly is. Concealed in the idea of death as the possibility of impossibility is the acceptance on one's mortal limitation as the basis for an affirmation of one's life”, says Critchley (2009). Guildenstern’s obsession with death takes a rather confusing route sometimes. He tells the Player that he “would prefer art to mirror life, same as you" (II.324). In their world, art and life are very closely related. But for Guildenstern, death is the fine line that separates art from reality. Art can imitate reality in all sorts of ways, but there is one thing it can't imitate: death. For Guil, who constantly seems to be looking for answers about the nature of reality, death is that thing that makes reality real. There is no death in

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