Hamlet and Rosencratz and Guildenstern essay
In class, we have studied both Hamlet and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead (Ros and Guil) and through this time my understanding of both these texts have been transformed and reshaped in a number of ways. I have realised that each text, whether old or new, can be told and interpreted in a different way, and, in turn, be presented to an audience in a totally different way to which it was first intended by its original author.
This is seen in the instance of Hamlet and Ros and Guil. Shakespeare first intended his play of Hamlet to be the only one to include this set of characters. The way he has presented Ros and Guil to the audience was putting a certain degree of guilt on Ros and Guils head. He justified their deaths. Stoppard, however, has reconstructed Ros and Guil to portray them as being innocent messenger only used as pawns in Kind Claudius master plan. By examining these aspects of modern and classic theatre I have realised that the portrayal of each character rests entirely within the authors scope. This is what Stoppard has done by rejecting the theory that the deaths of Ros and Guil were deserved.
My understanding of the text Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead has been greatly developed and reshaped through thoroughly studying it in comparison to Shakespears Hamlet. At first I had thought that the transformation of the classic play Hamlet could not be done to a great degree of credibility and when we first started to study Stoppards interpretation I was sceptical. Through studying it in detail, however, I have come to realise that Stoppard was not just recreating Hamlet to just create a play, he recreated Hamlet as a way of showing the audience that everything that you see on stage should not be what we always accept as truth. He does this by letting the audience see what goes on in the behind the scenes part of Hamlet what no one else would see in the original play. He creates logic behind his argument that in life we are always on stage. He makes it we are constantly evaluating ourselves and replacing our own situation with Ros and Guils. He does this by making Ros and Guil ask questions to the audience. Although Stoppard did not intend it, this is classified as the Theatre of the Absurd.
When you compare the different styles of speaking within the 2 plays, you can see that there is a great difference from the 1400s so the 1960s. When Stoppard incorporates scenes from Hamlet in Ros and Guil the style of speaking is obviously in the Elizabethan style. When Ros and Guil leave the Hamlet stage, however the style of speaking changes dramatically. They now begin speaking in a fashion that is very familiar to they way that we speak today. Stoppard has done this to amplify the audiences knowledge of when Ros and Guil step from the Hamlet stage to their own. This, again makes the audience aware of Stoppards point that we have never left the stage, the only way that we can leave the stage is by death. By making this point Stoppard points out that Shakespeare, in his original work, neglected to put in Ros and Guils own thoughts and questions about life. By not doing this, Shakespeare let the door open for speculation about the true nature and intentions of the pair. A door that was stepped into by Stoppard.
By studying Ros and Guil, in comparison to Hamlet it has let me think about the different views that Stoppard has put forward. I have realised that it isnt just a play just about the issue of guilt about two men but I different way of looking at our lives and how we live. I think it emphasises the theory that ignorance is bliss and made me think about the way that Hamlet was written. Whether there could be other scenes that the audience didnt see about other motives of Hamlet or some other motive from Claudius for wanting to kill the late King Hamlet other then for his wife.
By interpreting Shakespeares work Stoppard has taught me that there are always a number of way which we can look at a play, situation, and in turn, life. Stoppard not only presents another way of looking at a classic piece of work but he incorporates into it another way of looking at our life and the society that we live in. He questions the existence of a higher being (God) and whether or not we actually have a say in the things that we do or this higher being has already planned everything out for us in our lives and there is nothing that we can do to stop it. He has done a tremendous job of putting together this piece of work.