Read Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard Henry Popkin Online


Hamlet told from the worm's-eye view of two minor characters, bewildered Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Echoes of Waiting for Godot resound, reality and illusion mix, and where fate leads heroes to a tragic but inevitable end....

Title : Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780802132758
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 126 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead Reviews

  • Jonathan Terrington
    2019-05-14 07:16

    -----------------------------------------------------------Peasant 1: Did you hear? Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead?Peasant 2: Really dead?Peasant 1: Really dead.Peasant 2: Really?Peasant 1: Really, really.Peasant 2: Really, really, really?Peasant 1: Really, really, really.Peasant 2: Really, really, really, really?Peasant 1: Would you stop that? They're dead as dead can be - which is actually pretty dead.Peasant 2: Pretty dead indeed.Peasant 1: But they're not the pretty dead.Peasant 2: Few are pretty when dead.Peasant 1: To be sure.Peasant 2: Was it murder?Peasant 1: Oh yes, t'was a murder of a show. All the crowd demanded their money back indeed.Peasant 2: And who could have done the dirty deed?Peasant 1: Stop that, we're no minstrels to be finishing each others rhymes.Peasant 2: Or cleaning up the other's crimes.Peasant 1: I've half a mind to let you join Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, can't you see our audience is growing tired of such absurdity? Though absurdity may be our part (the peasants together) absurdity for a laugh quickly loses all sense of art.Peasant 1: As I heard it, I believe that Hamlet may be to blame for the deaths of those two men. I heard that he replaced a letter - with instructions to kill him - with one bearing instructions for their death.Peasant 2: Quite the rumour. Where did this original letter come from I wonder? Peasant 1: Oh, that's quite easy to tell. It came from Claudius, Hamlet's dear uncle.Peasant 2: So was said letter - of which we have not seen...Peasant 1: Much as we have not seen Rosencrantz or Guildenstern...Peasant 2: ...therefore a letter to put master Hamlet out of his funky misery?(Enter Dr. John Watson and Sherlock Holmes)John Watson: I say, Sherlock, we don't even belong in this type of fiction.Sherlock Holmes: My dear Watson, you forget that this is now a murder mystery. And murder is quite within our realm of expertise.Both Peasants: (turn to the audience) Aside from committing them we hope.Watson: Then, I presume you have come to a decision about this case by now Holmes?Holmes: Indubitably, my good fellow. The solution is rather obvious.Watson: So it was Hamlet after all, his hands are certainly most guilty.Holmes: Why of course not Watson. Don't be ridiculous. It was not Hamlet after all who initiated the beginnings of this murder.Watson: Claudius then, it was his letter that sent two men to their dooms.Holmes: Ah, Watson, you see but you do not observe.Watson: Surely, you do not mean to insist that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are responsible for the deaths themselves?Holmes: Try to keep up Watson, I said murder, and I meant murder. This is no suicide case, it is a murder following an attempted regicide, most foul.Watson: Why then, Holmes, whatever the dickens could be the solution?Holmes: There is clearly nothing more elusive to you Watson than an obvious fact. We are looking at a murder committed centuries ago, murder that continues to haunt the here and now. In several different worlds at this time, several versions of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are being murdered all over again. The true criminal - the one which remains as truth - is clearly the old bard himself. Mr William Shakespeare.-----------------------------------------------------------"We're tragedians you see. We follow directions - there is no choice involved. The bad end unhappily, the good unluckily. That is what tragedy means."The remainder of this review has been moved to my website. If you would care to read it, then please click the following link: FULL REVIEW OF ROZENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD

  • Kim
    2019-05-24 01:50

    I first read this play either at school or at university - at any event, so long ago that I can no longer remember when - and it made me a fan of Tom Stoppard's work. Since that time I've seen productions of a number of his plays, including Arcadia (one of all time favourite pieces of theatre), Travesties and Rock 'n' Roll. However, until last night I'd not seen a production of this play, which kickstarted Stoppard's career as a playwright when it was staged at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 1966. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead is described as an absurdist, existentialist tragi-comedy. It focuses on two minor characters from Hamlet who wait in the wings as Shakespeare's tragedy is played out around them, confused and confounded by what is happening, uncertain of their identities, unable to rely on their memories. While Stoppard has Ros and Gil (or is it Gil and Ros?) engage in deep discussions about the meaning of life and death, the conflict between art and reality and the randomness of fate, they completely miss the signficance to their own situation of the philosophical concepts involved in their discussions. They have no existence independent of each other and no existence outside Hamlet - and no understanding of what that means.Two aspects of the play really stand out for me. One is its metatheatricality. The whole play is a piece of metatheatre given that the the central characters are characters in Hamlet and the action takes place within and around a performance of Hamlet. However, there are also conscious echoes of Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot, discussions by the characters of theatrical performance and theory, repeated role-playing by Ros and Gil, and more than one variation of Hamlet's play-within-a-play. The effect is a complex and layered exposition of theatrical artifice.The other aspect of the play that I particularly love is the language. Stoppard's wordplay is dazzlingly witty and inventive, while demonstrating how language can be used to confound and obfuscate reality and truth. The Sydney Theatre Company production of the play I saw last night was brilliant, with wonderful performances, sensational set and costumes and great direction. I laughed until I cried. That has to indicate a great night at the theatre.

  • Kelly
    2019-05-11 05:08

    Brilliant. It's fitting to choose the British designation for how wonderful I think this play is, I believe. This play manages to be absolutely stand on its own hilarious, as well as a thoughtful meditation on many issues at the same time. It pushes neither on the viewer/reader on its own, nor predominantly. The satire is executed near flawlessly, and the comedic sensitivity (even in the saddest moments of the farce) could not be more on target. I very much usually wish to have some criticism to make, even of the classics that I review, but after having read this about five times, I still have none. It makes its points, delivers them well, and involves every audience I have seen when attending a production of it. The only point I would make here is that if you can have some familiarity with Hamlet, I would imagine the play becomes much more funny. I saw it after knowing Hamlet quite well, so I haven't had the opposite experience. However, this is what I am told, and given the context of the play, I don't doubt it.

  • Annalisa
    2019-05-25 01:51

    I watched this movie years ago and thought it was hilarious so I thought I'd check out the play that inspired the film. It's the ramblings of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern while Hamlet goes unnoticed, or at least misunderstood, by them in the background. In far over their heads, both in thematic prose and plot progression, what makes this play so hilarious is the irony. One of the few times irony can truly be claimed: the reader is aware of a humor lost on the characters when we have the foreknowledge of the well-known fate of Rosen & Guild. My favorite part is the detached and indifferent discussion of death between Rosen & Guild when they think it's Hamlet forthcoming end but we the readers all know that it is their deaths they are tumbling towards unknowingly. Their part-insightful, part-idiotic discussions on chance, fate, death, friends, and word play is amusing. One of my favorite lines "A man talking sense to himself is no madder than a man talking nonsense not to himself" is humorous because it is spoken by a seemingly nonsensical insane Guildenstern trying to appear intelligent about a Hamlet who is "stark raving sane" trying to appear unintelligent. The humor of self-evaluation in "talking nonsense not to himself" is lost on Guild. I loved the questions game they played where they weren't allowed to make a statement, only ask questions and the rhetoric it produced. The incorrect assumptions they take on the mundane, taking nothing for given, even previously established facts was amusing as well. Such as: "The old man thinks he's in love with his daughter" received questions such as "He's in love with his daughter?" and "The old man is?" going back and forth until "Hamlet in love with the old man's daughter, the old man thinks" sets them straight. While their conversation is often idiotic, it is sometimes insightful, and amusing in both instances. But while very witty, it was a little bit hard to follow at times, particularly the stage directions. It made me want to pull out Hamlet and reference the correlating scenes. It may be useful to have read Hamlet recently. I forgot what a great play that is. With the quick conversation and the double plays, I think the movie is a better forum for this and I'm putting this movie on my queue for a rewatch (and it was excellent once again). But what an original idea. Very funny. Give it a read or better yet go watch the movie.A few of the quotes that struck me:We're actors! We're the opposite of people.A man talking sense to himself is no madder than a man talking nonsense not to himself. Or just as mad. . .Stark raving sane. Shouldn't we be doing something... constructive? ... What did you have in mind? A short, blunt human pyramid? A Chinaman of the T'ang Dynasty - and, by which definition, a philosopher - dreamed he was a butterfly, and from that moment he was never quite sure that he was not a butterfly dreaming it was a Chinese philosopher. Envy him; in his two-fold security.Everything has to be taken on trust; truth is only that which is taken to be true. It's the currency of living. There may be nothing behind it, but it doesn't make any difference so long as it is honoured. One acts on assumptions. What do you assume?In reponse to I don't believe in England: Just a conspiracy of cartographers?We're still finding our feet ... I should concentrate on not losing your head. Life in a box is better than no life at all, I expect. You'd have a chance, at least. You could lie there thinking, "Well, at least I'm not dead.We move idly toward eternity without possibility of reprieve or hope of explanation.If you're not even happy, what's so good about surviving?Death is not...not. Death isn't. You take my meaning. Death is the ultimate negative. Not being.

  • Bettie☯
    2019-05-12 05:05

    Description: Hamlet told from the worm's-eye view of two minor characters, bewildered Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Echoes of Waiting for Godot resound, reality and illusion mix, and where fate leads heroes to a tragic but inevitable end.A revisit via youtube: is handy but in this case I crave the DVD to play on the eight foot screen. HEADS HEADS HEADS HEADS HEADS HEADS HEADS HEADS HEADS etc. etc.

  • Jon(athan) Nakapalau
    2019-05-24 00:50

    Karmic retribution for false friends...Hamlet: "Thou hast killed me in thine heart...and now in my true heart let thy execution take place; to false friendship - a dungeon that neither you nor I shall be condemned to...let thy execution be my final act of friendship." (So sorry Bill!)

  • Wanda
    2019-05-21 04:04

    Each of us is the star of our own life. You may be a bit part in someone else’s narrative, but in your own mind, yours is the story that matters. Or you may struggle to find meaning in your own life, like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in this play by Tom Stoppard.Last night I attended a live broadcast of the National Theatre production, starring Daniel Radcliffe and Josh McGuire. The set was very simple and the dialog was copious and delivered rapidly. I couldn’t help but admire how well they knew their parts.There was definitely a “Waiting for Godot” vibe to the production, as R & G wait for some kind of sign or direction as to what they are supposed to be doing.A knowledge of Shakespeare’s Hamlet isn’t necessary to appreciate this play, but I think it enhances the viewer’s appreciation.Recommended.

  • Liz Janet
    2019-05-07 08:16

    An absurdest play with two idiot main characters and one of the most profound quotes of all time “We cross our bridges when we come to them and burn them behind us, with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke, and a presumption that once our eyes watered.”

  • Riku Sayuj
    2019-05-14 02:58

    Probably the profoundest of all modern plays that I have read... pondering if I can manage to write a review that will do it justice.

  • Christopher
    2019-05-13 03:52

    My brain is a bad actor.I know it's a bad actor because I read this play and the performance it gave totally fell flat. It messed up all the punchlines. Often it had to go back to read parts that it misread. It even got bored during the middle part and totally phoned in the performance of the first half of the third act. It totally ruined this play for me with its terrible one-note performance. Stupid, stupid brain.Luckily for me, Tom Stoppard directed a moving pictures version of his play, starring the magnificent Gary Oldman, Tim Roth, and Richard Dreyfuss, and it's available on Netflix. So after I finished reading this play, bewilderedly wondering what about it I should have liked, I pressed play on my computing device. What I saw before me on the screen was a hilarious, creative, meta, terribly intriguing story of two lovable weirdos romping through the world of Hamlet. The tedious coin-flipping scene so dully enacted by my brain was brought to glorious life by the good Sirs Oldman and Roth. In short, I was just too stupid to see the brilliance of this play simply by reading it. But after seeing the movie, I was able to go back to the written work and appreciate some excerpts with gusto. Your brain is probably a better actor than mine, but if you have any doubts regarding its talents, I'd suggest watching the movie first. That's something I would almost never recommend, but after all, it is a play, something meant to be acted out in front of you rather than just inside that noggin of yours.

  • Paul
    2019-05-17 00:09

    This has been my favourite play since I first studied it for English Lit 'A' Level waaaaayyy back in 1993. I've returned to it again and again over the years and it still blows me away every time. This is as close to written perfection as I've ever read. I absolutely love every line.-----------------------------------------------------------I've just got back from watching this performed by Daniel Radcliffe, Joshua McGuire and David Haig. What a fantastic production! They really did it justice. The supporting cast were also excellent. What a great night!

  • Michael Finocchiaro
    2019-05-19 00:08

    This is a classic existentialist work by playwright Tom Stoppard which focuses on an absurdist dialog between the two minor characters Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in Shakespeare's Hamlet. Thanks to my extraordinary high school AP English teacher, I was introduced to this wonderful and funny play and it gave me more insight into the incredible complexity of the original as well as opened my eyes to modern perspectives about it. A must.

  • Jonfaith
    2019-05-14 02:11

    This was another charming variation on a Shakespearean theme, a dissonant song cycle extending out from familiar material. One rife with pauses and silence. Beckett in Elsinore. I did not think this the genius to which many have ascribed. Then again, I am old. I did find the humor deft and the existential exploration of the verb to act most effective, a playful weaving of definitions underscored by a plaintive glance at the heavens, waiting for stage directions. George Bernard Shaw was an Irishman, not an atheist as was famously said. Less popular is the anecdote that Tom Stoppard's stepfather once growled, I made you British, boy.There has been occasion enough this week to ponder personally what the cosmic Script has in mind. I would like to hunt down the film version of this while the material is fresh.

  • Kim
    2019-05-25 02:09

    After many a viewing of Tom Stoppard’s film adaption of his play “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead” (many… many… viewings… I mean, c’mon… Tim Roth and Gary Oldman circa 1990? uh… yeah!) I thought that it might make a nice, light, summer read. Right. I should have just picked up the new James Patterson. I’m not complaining… no way no how. This play is awesome. Ros and Guil, Guil and Ros… they are two parts of one big bumbling(?), bewitching oaf. I just want to hug them and ruffle their hair and maybe run my hand down their chests… and…. ROS: What are you playing at?GUIL: Words, words. They're all we have to go on.Whoomp! There it is! That’s the whole point to all of this right? Words, words, words. I am passive aggressive by nature therefore I rely heavily on innuendo and jest. I’m more likely to crush on a well written character than a well defined underwear model. Booknerd indeedy.ROS: Fire!GUIL: Where?ROS: It's all right – I'm demonstrating the misuse of free speech. To prove that it exists.You have to love Ros/Guil---or Ruil or Gos… or whatever—you just HAVE to, get it? Ok?… they are wise in their perplexity… they have no idea where they have been and seemingly always forgetting where they are headed. They amuse themselves by playing Questions and flipping coins. They are fearful and hesitant and yet they get it. They know that the big bad world is undeniably big and bad. ROS: I'm afraid – GUIL: So am I.ROS: I'm afraid it isn't your day.GUIL: I'm afraid it is.Their bond. Their yin yang of hope and despair. Their wordplay. I laughed, cried, peed a bit, snorted and guffawed. That’s worth 5 stars, isn’t it?GUIL: You scream and choke and sink to your knees, but it doesn't bring death home to anyone – it doesn't catch them unawares and start the whisper in their skulls that says – "One day you are going to die."OMG. They’d be perfect Smiths fans….

  • Matthew
    2019-05-02 05:10

    "We do onstage the things that are suppose to happen off. Which is a kind of integrity, if you look on every exit being an entrance somewhere else."Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead can be seen as Stoppard's answer to the question what are the minor characters of the play Hamlet doing while the tragic prince is agonizing and plotting? Stoppard's simple answer is "nothing".R and G spend there time playing word games, musing on the nature of death and fate, and try--desperately and futilely--to gain some understanding of the grand events unfolding around them. Performed on a bare stage, which R and G never leave, the play is not a story of people but of characters; Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are defined entirely by their roles in the play. They have no memory of their past, because they did not exist before they were sent for by the King and Queen. They never appear singly, and so they themselves are not quite sure which of them is Rosencrantz and which Guildenstern. They are trapped in an absurd theatrical world which, while at first witty and humorous, becomes profoundly unsettling until at last Guildenstern is left alone on a dark stage saying as he faces his own death, "There must have been a moment, at the beginning, where we could have said--no. But somehow we missed it."It is short and easy to read but Stoppard's pun laden style means that rereadings are rewarding and go a long way towards a more complete understanding. I also recommend at least a basic familiarity with Hamlet, because R and G are Dead has no plot of its own and never gives more than basic exposition concerning the story going on in the background.Well worth reading, especially if you can not see it performed.

  • Mahdi Lotfabadi
    2019-05-09 01:08

    من هم تو نمایشنامه‌ی هملت همیشه به نقش این دو نفر فکر می‌کردم... همیشه اعتقاد داشتم بود و نبود این دو نفر تغییری تو روند نمایشنامه به وجود نمیاره و مرگشون هم یه واکنش شدید بوده. تو فیلم هملت به کارگردانی لارنس الیویه هم هر چند بسیار وفادارانه‌ست این دو نفر از داستان حذف شدن... خوشحالم دیدم فقط من چنین حسی نداشتم و این نمایشنامه رو خوندم.

  • David Sarkies
    2019-05-10 05:53

    The Certainty of Death26 July 2011 I liked the film of this play so much that when I was wondering through a secondhand bookshop and saw a copy on the shelf I snatched it up immediately. One of the reasons was because I wanted to actually read the play upon which the film was based (and remembering that the playwright also made the film), and it does seem to be quite faithful. However, unlike the film, the action of Hamlet, around which this play is based, has been pushed further into the background. While I am probably going over a lot of the ground that I explored in my movie review, I think that it is necessary when approaching this play. There isn't much difference between the play and the film and the major theme, death, permeates right through it. Right from the beginning we are looking towards the ultimate fate that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern face: their death. The second theme that permeates the play is that of the play. The tragedians are major characters in this play, and there is an exploration of reality verses the make believe, and the concept of death permeates this as well. The tragedians perform violent plays. As the player says '… well, I can do you blood and love without rhetoric, and I can do you blood and rhetoric without the love, and I can do all three concurrent and consecutive, but I can't do you love and rhetoric without the blood. Blood is compulsory – they're all blood, you see'. While reading this does not have the same impact as Richard Dreyfus actually speaking the lines in the film, it does give a clear indication of the idea of the theatre, and that it is about blood, and indeed it is about death. I spoke to a friend at work and said that the difference between a Shakespearian tragedy and a comedy is that at the end of a tragedy everybody dies, while at the end of the comedy everybody gets married, to which his response was 'so what's the difference then?'. The other interesting thing about the tragedians is that they are nothing without an audience. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern sneak away from them while they are performing a play and when they meet up again at Elsinore, the player is deeply insulted, insinuating that without an audience they are simply a bunch of idiots making fools of themselves in the woods. That, in many cases, is so true. Without an audience a play, a song, and even a film, is nothing. It is only the audience that makes them what they are. As for death, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern grapple with the concept of death, yet it is clear that they do not fully understand. it They speak of rather being alive in a box buried underground than dead because 'at least you are alive'. However they are oblivious to their fate, despite knowing that fate is forcing them towards that end. They chastise the player for his understanding of death, because on the stage death is not real. You put on a performance, keel over, and lie motionless, only to get up again. However it seems that to the players death is a performance. When the player is stabbed, he keels over, apparently dead, only to rise up again to a resounding applause. That, they say, is not death. Death is the end, death is final, and when they have reached this part of the play, they already know of their fate, and know that there is no way to avoid it. In a sense I got the feeling that this play, similar to Waiting for Godot, had absolutely nothing happen in it. While there is action occurring behind the scenes (which is Hamlet), nothing is happening when Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are concerned. There is no goal, no purpose that they are heading towards, they are only there to be push and pulled in the direction that fate takes them. At the beginning of the play they are summoned, and when at Elsinore, they are ordered about by the major character's in Hamlet, and in the end, through Hamlet's slight of hand, are put to death. It appears that they did not have a choice, and they even wonder at one point, before they are put to death, whether there was a time at which they could have said no. In anycase, the play itself ends with death, that is the death of the major characters in Hamlet. The only ones who seem to survive are the tragedians, but even then, they are no better off than they were at the beginning.I've also written a blog post on a version that I saw staring none other than Daniel Radcliffe.

  • Jill
    2019-05-22 02:05

    background don't think about them much.(unless you're a harry potter fan i guess)but they're seething.writhing.riveting.they have their own stories.they have their own explorations, philosophies, existential breaks.all this goes unnoticed.but worse! but more importantly! ----because who cares about the thoughts of a background character, come on come the fuck on come ON ----they have their own perspective on the real storyand it is not what you expect.and you have no idea.this has been in me for 8 years.a reread:books that scream your name precisely.

  • Liz
    2019-05-24 00:58

    Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are dead......then why write a 93 page play about them? I get it, it was the 60's people were high and found most things intellectually amusing, witty and necessarily redundant in an avante-garde sort of way. But seriously why? I found the play dragged and it didnt make me laugh.My advice only read this book if you are a hipster as it is much easier to roll a copy of this up and cram into the back pocket of your skinny jeans than a copy of A Confederacy of Dunces.

  • Autumn Christian
    2019-04-24 06:55

    “Actors! The mechanics of cheap melodrama! That isn't death! You scream and choke and sink to your knees but it doesn't bring death home to anyone- it doesn't catch them unawares and start the whisper in their skulls that says- 'One day you are going to die.” I didn't know anything about Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead going in (Except having read Hamlet several times, and having the excellent recommendation from a friend) so what I believe this book is about and what it's intention may be, could possibly be at odds.Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are two minor characters in the play Hamlet, who seem to be killed in the last part of the play almost as an afterthought - brought to the forefront of this play. In this book, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are the major characters.This play is more than anything, about the painful awareness of self and how to reconcile that with one's place in the universe. Occasionally Rosencrant or Guildenstern will address the audience angrily, or engage in games that seem to be bound more by cosmic laws than chance. If the coin is always "heads", which is an astronomically infinite possibility, than maybe the ensuing actions that follow cannot be swayed to change, no matter how impossible or absurd the "destiny" may seem. But they continue to have to act, within this illusion of free will. This is best illustrated in their interactions with the actors, and the anger directed at them for not dying "real" deaths. Whilst demanding the actors to show them something real, when they themselves aren't real, either, precludes their own onscreen deaths. It's anger at circumstance, anger at destiny, and the desire for will outside of predetermination,Hamlet himself makes occasional appearances that intersect with moments in the original play - but he's been reduced here to a bit character. He appears whirling into the play, intense and angry and a little absurd. He's become to this play what Rosencrant and Guildenstern were to him in "Hamlet." Making us aware that each character has their own lens to which they view the story, which could make the hero either villainous, absurd, invisible, or meaningless.Overall an excellent play, and one I'd like to see live.

  • Lexie
    2019-05-01 05:59

    I never feel fully qualified to review books of this caliber with any hope to encompass everything they stand for. But Rosencrantz and Guildenstern is approachable and easy and terribly difficult to spell, as far as a book can be classified as approachable. And I feel like saying a few words on it won't result in a lynch mob.When we are taught to look at a known scene with fresh eyes / from a fresh perspective in Creative Writing classes, it's commonplace to immediately leap to inanimate objects and personify abstract concepts. This out of the box approach to creativity has become so thoroughly canvassed that it fits into the box quite nicely now. But maybe, just maybe, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is the end result one actually seeks in those exercises - a novel approach to a known plot, and one which brings quite a bit of new to the old. Part of this novelty that it brings obviously has to do with it having been written in 1966. The influences in this book are decidedly modern, and the writing doesn't bother to hide it. But the other part of the novelty might just lie in the reimagining - in bringing secondary characters to the forefront and having their ruminations and their (very good) jokes narrate the entire story.Having said all this, I did feel at times that the book trod a dangerous line between being reminiscent of Waiting for Godot and of being Waiting for Godot.

  • Valetta
    2019-04-25 05:01

    Commedia dell'assurdo in cui due personaggi minori dell'Amleto di Shakespeare, Rosencrantz e Guilderstein appunto, assurgono al ruolo di protagonisti in un opera che è contemporaneamente commedia e dramma esistenzialista. All'inizio dell'opera Rosencrantz e Guilderstein si ritrovano in viaggio verso la corte di Danimarca, impegnati in una partita di "testa o croce" che sembra non avere inizio nè fine. Da quanto tempo giocano? Perchè sono in viaggio? Chi li ha convocati e perchè non hanno ricordo di chi erano prima dell'incontro con il messaggero del re che ha dato via a tutto? Stoppard gioca con la sovrapposizione tra vita "reale" e vita sul palcoscenico; è chi sta sul palco l'attore che segue un copione prestabilito oppure è quella la vita vera? Questo tipo di interrogativi innesca una serie di conversazioni tra i due che si risolvono ben presto in esilaranti corto circuiti, giochi di parole che si mordono la coda nell'insensatezza dell'essere. Certo per apprezzarlo appieno andrebbe visto recitato, soprattutto nelle parti più comiche la semplice lettura non ha il "ritmo" giusto anche se l'effetto umoristico si avverte in ogni caso.

  • Iman
    2019-05-14 03:11

    This is a genius play of the behind the scenes of Shakespeare's play Hamlet. The plot follows two minor characters, Rosencrantz and Guildensertn, as they engage with the main characters of the play. From the first page to the last, Stoppard offers us new perspective to one of the most read plays in the world. What I enjoyed the most is the sophisticated dialogue and the subtle humour that permeates throughout the play. While Stoppard remains true to the original, he adds a new dimension to otherwise two forgettable characters.

  • Jeeyun
    2019-05-19 01:53

    This re-read could not have come at a better time deep in the midst of existential crisis #522. This is the clever tragicomic meta-play of two minor characters from Shakespeare's Hamlet. They are summoned, they bumble about, they play questions, they are entirely confounded by the hubbub surrounding the "much transformed" Prince of Denmark, and then they are sent to their feeble deaths as demanded by the grand scheme of the play. While the dialogue and physical antics of Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, and the Tragediens are comical and laden with puns, the play serves as a philosophical musing on life, the futility of it, and the cruel haphazard nature of creation (and death). But... um... all in good fun of course. I can't imagine this being particularly interesting reading if you haven't read Hamlet or if you don't enjoy pointless witticisms and humor in the absurd. The play always leaves me thinking that maybe we're all just minor characters summoned from nothing to pass the time idly waxing philosophic and idiotic while we wait to fulfill our minor role after which we make our sad, pathetic exit without applause or encore. But... um... in a fun(ny) way, I promise you...

  • Jane
    2019-05-22 06:16

    The author has taken two unimportant [dare I say expendable?] characters from Hamlet, turned Hamlet on its head and made these two [Ros and Guil, as the author calls them] the main actors: more than a mere plot point as in the original. Also, the Player [leader of the travelling theatrical troupe of tragedians] is very important in moving the action [such as it is] along. Ros and Guil are clueless throughout: why have they been summoned to Denmark? What does the king want them to do? What and why is Hamlet's 'transformation'? What will be their fates? Surreal humor, absurdism, silliness, a touch of sadness, and fantastic wordplay make this play--interspersed with relevant scenes from Hamlet--a modern classic. It's a play within a play within a play... I thought it was hilarious. It would help to know at least a basic synopsis of Hamlet. It was most witty and I loved the rapid-fire patter, especially when Ros and Guil "play at questions", along with each keeping score [like a tennis match--e.g., "two---love"; "foul"] on the other. I read this play with text in hand watching the movie, written and also directed by Tom Stoppard. The movie had visual elements the play did not; and the play had dialogue that had been cut from the movie. So together, they were a good fit. Later, I read the text aloud. Seeing a theatrical performance would not go amiss. This play is most highly recommended.

  • Sookie
    2019-05-08 03:56

    The best way to go about this book is by going blind. The surprise that arrives in terms of characters introduced in the second act is enough to put bring out the giggle fest. Narrated by two characters from the play Hamlet, the story isn't much of a story but the existential crisis the two of them (and some!) face. They spend time playing games: tossing coin to word games and watching a "performance" to being part of a "performance". The two "Ros" and "Guil" explore the themes Shakespeare himself went back to: fate, destiny, betrayal, life etc. The characters often exchange names. Stoppard doesn't provide a moment of reprieve when his characters purposely become obtuse and heavy on the narrative. The ending comes with Shakespearean style again when a character questions their motive, moral and consequences of decisions. Often hilarious and generally profound, this play unravels many of its layers with each read. I read it twice back to back; the first time without any background and the second time, with knowledge of what to expect. Only that the second time the puns Stoppard pulls out of nowhere have an edge of sadness and the running theme of existence a tad sadder. This play may have a fantastic adaptation on the screen. But the word play can only be savored when read. I wonder how it would be to share a train ride with "Ros" and "Guil".

  • Anthony SanFilippo
    2019-05-11 02:19

    Just a fantastic look at the world of Hamlet through the eyes of two minor characters from the play.Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are a dynamic duo of characters. They are the Gilligan and Skipper, Abbot and Costello, Laurel and Hardy of literature.Without giving too much away, the opening sequence of consecutive coin flips is hysterical, as is Rosencrantz's monologue about learning about death.At the same time, it is so well written and introspective that it offers a real insight into the lives of two guys who are no different in many ways than the young men of today.A must read.

  • Debbie Zapata
    2019-05-12 05:11

    My tummy hurts from laughing so much. Reading this play is even more fun if you have seen the movie version a dozen or so times and can have it running through your mind as you turn the pages of the book.Rosencrantz and Guildenstern have become my favorite characters in Hamlet because of this play. You just have to root for them, even when you know what their fate will be. They try so hard to understand what is happening but they can never quite grasp enough details for their lives to make sense. I want to go right back to page one and start all over again. I think I will toss a coin: heads, I re-read immediately, tails I go on to something else.......Heads!

  • Lavinia
    2019-05-12 08:07

    Excellent. I cannot believe I gave up watching the film a while ago (especially since it featured one of my two favourite Tims in the world). I suspect watching a live performance would indeed be a 5 star experience.I loved Stoppard's wit so much, I could quote him endlessly. And of course, discuss existentialism over a bottle of dry red.

  • Winter Sophia Rose
    2019-05-04 05:51

    Witty, Hilarious, Insightful & Intriguing! A Brilliant Play! I Loved It!