Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is a play which, as it were, takes place in the wings of Hamlet, and finds both humour and poignancy in the situation of the ill-fated attendant lords. The National Theatre production in April 1967 made Tom Stoppard's reputation virtually overnight. Its wit, stagecraft and verbal verve remain as exhilarating as they were then and the play has become a contemporary classic. 'One of the most original and engaging of post-war plays.' Daily Telegraph
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Acclaimed as a modern dramatic masterpiece, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead is the fabulously inventive tale of Hamlet as told from the worm’s-eve view of the bewildered Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, two minor characters in Shakespeare’s play. In Tom Stoppard’s best-known work, this Shakespearean Laurel and Hardy finally get a chance to take the lead role, but do so in a world where echoes of Waiting for Godot resound, where reality and illusion intermix, and where fate leads our two heroes to a tragic but inevitable end. Tom Stoppard was catapulted into the front ranks of modem playwrights overnight when Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead opened in London in 1967. Its subsequent run in New York brought it the same enthusiastic acclaim, and the play has since been performed numerous times in the major theatrical centers of the world. It has won top honors for play and playwright in a poll of London Theater critics, and in its printed form it was chosen one of the “Notable Books of 1967” by the American Library Association.
Acclaimed as a modern dramatic masterpiece, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead is the fabulously inventive tale of Hamlet as told from the worm's-eye view of the bewildered Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, two minor characters in Shakespeare's play. In Tom Stoppard's best-known work, this Shakespearean Laurel and Hardy finally get a chance to take the lead role, but do so in a world where echoes of Waiting for Godot resound, where reality and illusion intermix, and where fate leads our two heroes to a tragic but inevitable end.
Seminar paper from the year 2006 in the subject English Language and Literature Studies - Literature, grade: 1,3, University of Mannheim (Lehrstuhl Anglistik II), course: Classics of 20th Century British Drama, 8 entries in the bibliography, language: English, comment: Analysis of Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead from post-modern metadramatic perspective., abstract: The play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead in its present form is the result of several drafts and older versions of this play, which Tom Stoppard wrote and staged. The first one was Rosencrantz and Guildenstern meet King Lear and was performed by amateur actors at a Ford Foundation cultural picnic in Berlin, in 1964. In this form the play was a one-act comedy in verse.1 In the following years the title changed and Stoppard rewrote the play into prose. At the Edinburgh Festival in 1966 the play had its break through and soon later its script was bought and produced by the National Theatre at the Old Vic. According to the Sunday Times it was "the most important event in the British professional theatre of the last nine years."2 The reason for the enthusiastic reactions towards the play is the fact that it illustrates the confusion of mankind in the post-modern world. Today's pluralism leaves the individual all to himself. The unity, which used to be created by religion, class or moral values, has been split up in favour of countless parallel existing societies with their own moral ideals and goals. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead is a comical depiction of two friends looking for an orientation in a world, which to them has lost its orders and values. By using Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, who are the two courtiers from Elsinore, from Shakespeare's Hamlet, Stoppard shows an unknown perspective of Hamlet. It is the one of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Without knowing the entire plot they experience the action from their point of view and constantly try to find explanations of
A Study Guide for Tom Stoppard's "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead," excerpted from Gale's acclaimed Drama For Students. This concise study guide includes plot summary; character analysis; author biography; study questions; historical context; suggestions for further reading; and much more. For any literature project, trust Drama For Students for all of your research needs.
A selection of critical commentary, from the casebook series, on three major plays in the early to middle period of Stoppard's career as a dramatist, including his own comments on his aims and methods.