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Paperback Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead Book

ISBN: 0802132758

ISBN13: 9780802132758

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

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Book Overview

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...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

In a tragedy even minor characters die

Screen plays serve several purposes; when the follow the film closely you get to slowdown and have time to savor the nuances. They also work as an external memory so you can revisit your favorite parts of the story. I could not tell my shoe was untied unless it was pointed out. I use screen plays to point out what I may have overlooked in a moment of contemplation. This particular book also has a few black & white stills. The scene closes in on Rosencrantz & Guildenstern or is it Guildenstern & Rosencrantz discussing the odds of a flipped coin coming up heads. What seems to be a casual curiosity is the setting for the eventual outcome of the story. If the names sound familiar then you will recognize them from the play "Hamlet". Their story was never fully told until now. Through out the film we get snippets of Hamlet and visions of what is to come. The real fun is in the fact that the dialog and the actors could have easily been seamlessly slipped into the original play. Their play on words not only matches Shakespeare but a good dose of Lewis Carroll; "Toes on the other hand"," Don't you mean the other foot?" Disperses through the story Rosencrantz (Gary Oldman) makes all the great discoveries from gravity to flight to steam engines and so forth. Every time he goes to show them to Guildenstern (Tim Roth) they are overlooked, or dismissed. The only person that was a tad over the top, acting like he was acting wad Richard Dreyfuss as the leader of the acting troop. However this is one movie that you can get away with it. Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead

Not what I expected...

...MUCH better than I expected! Before I read this I was expecting an oddly funny adventure of 2 supporting characters in "Hamlet". Perhaps some witty conversation and discussions on what their plans for the Dane prince were. Well, I really wasn't wrong...it simply delivered so much more. The title characters not only have the adventure with the witty dialogue. They encounter the disconcerting world of a supporting character. A world which is revealed to them little by little in the scenes they are featured then cast into a netherworld to ponder on what little information they were given. I advise taking time with this one. As my high school English teacher told me, this is a book not to be wolfed down, but to be digested.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Very Much Alive, Actually

From the uncomparable genius of Tom Stoppard comes a quotable masterpiece about two friends lost in someone else's story. While the rest of Shakespeare's characters remain true to their original script, Ros and Guil step out of the box to explore a variety of topics ranging from the metaphysical to the downright comical. As the title suggests, the story is, ultimately, a tradegy -- but as the reader gets to know the two stars, it becomes a tragedy on multiple levels. One feels that their deaths are preordained, and even the moments of sidesplitting hilarity are laced with the bittersweet knowledge that it WILL end. The story is made still more touching as the characters' early realization of their fate battles with their unquenchable hope. Stoppard has captured in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern a sense of innocence that endures despite the chaos around them in a world where it seems even the laws of physics have suddenly ceased to apply. A perfect mixture of comedy and tragedy with a philosophical overtone attainable only by Stoppard, this is a play you will want to read, re-read, and act out with your friends in daily conversations.

Sometimes the Pawns can be Kings

In this play Tom Stoppard has pulled two minor characters from Hamlet and given us a glimpse of what may lay behind the mundane exteriors of everyday life and more importantly the limits of possibility of meaning contained in the world of literature. What is important about this is that Stoppard is showing us that the lives of common people and minor characters can also make for some great literature too. Philosophically, I would tend to say that this play is securely grounded in the genre that has been called the Theater of the Absurd, which in turn owes much to the thinking of Albert Camus. Having said this, I have to say that this play has some definite similarities with the works of Beckett, especially Godot, but also that of Harold Pinter's, "The Birthday Party", especially in terms of dialogue, plot direction, and character development. So if you like the work of these playwrights you would certainly enjoy this, which would also be of great interest to Shakespeare students/fans as well as anyone interested in the ideas of existentialist thought. Despite these similarities R & G and at the same time because of them, this work seems at times to be conscious of breaking new ground and testing the limits of absurdity and interaction with the audience. The symbolism, for example, seems to be much more important to the action and meaning of this play than it is in other works of this genre. Whereas, Godot seems to stress the repetitiveness of dialogue, R & G is suggestive of just the opposite--the seemingly endless play of meaning implicit in each uttered word. This comes out through the characters lack of confidence in what they struggle to say, and the way that their views seem to change with each situation, which illustrates the uncertainty of meaning and life. Although many of the plays of this period seem to be focused on the nature of existence and its meaning to humanity, the discursive ways through which it is approached and interpreted make them all vastly unique, puzzling and vastly entertaining reads. The thing that is, perhaps, most original in R & G's creation, is the way that Stoppard utilizes the thought of Artaud and his idea of the Theater of Cruelty, to at times completely breakdown the barriers between the audience and the actors. It follows then, that if one wants to get the full effect of this play it has to be seen live. But, then again how many people get that chance, thus, this book is the second best thing. I would only suggest paying very close attention to the stage directions, set and scenery, as they are much more important in this play than they are in others. Finally, simply read R & G for the fun of it, you certainly will not be disappointed. In this play Stoppard has gone along way in breaking down the barriers between the writer and the average reader. With originality, humor, and an important theme, Stoppard has achieved his goal beautifully, giving us all a realistic glimpse into the complex drama of human life

A witty forey into litterary Theory incarnate

Seeing the recent trend in philosophical reflection towards litterary theory, nothing tops Stoppard's witty examination of the nature of narrative and characterization through a parody of not only "Hamlet", but philosophy and litterary theory itself. Gloriously executed!
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