Essay, Research Paper: Term Paper On Theater


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As Shakespeare’s Hamlet is recounted from another point of view, in Tom
Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, a new sense of witty comedy
is sprung forth from the classic play. In all actuality, the play is classified
as a tragic comedy, because although the dialogue and flow of the play is one of
a laid back comedy, the play does end in death. It’s as though the two,
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, put off a sort of dumb vibe, I mean they can’t
even get their names straight. In the end though, I would have to say that their
confusion is really the source of most of their stupidity. In one instance,
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, play a question and answer type game to sharpen up
on their skills for their upcoming encounter with Hamlet. In the Abbot and
Costello, “Who’s on First” style, the two would throw out a series of
questions, confusing both the reader and themselves. Not only was the basis of
their questions comical, but also the manner in which they asked them and scored
themselves in a tennis-like way. Following this completely stupid question game
the two enacted a hypothetical encounter with Hamlet. It almost took all of
Rosencrantz’s brain power just to understand the fact that Guildenstern was
acting as Hamlet. The hilarious conversation ended up in Rosencrantz arriving at
the following conclusion, “To sum up: your father, whom you love, dies, you
are his heir, you come back to find that hardly was the corpse cold before his
young brother popped onto his throne and into his sheets, thereby offending both
legal and natural practice. Now why exactly are you behaving in this
extraordinary manner?” In Act II, the lonesome couple, encounter some an
acting group passing them by. In hope of a performance, Rosencrantz and
Guildenstern were quite surprised as to what the players had in mind. This scene
is sure to crack a few laughs wherever it’s performed. Here the two
misunderstand what type of entertainment the players have in store for them,
until he the head player suggests that they’d probably enjoy themselves more
if they get involve. Finally, Guildenstern realized what they were getting at
and clears up all the confusion with this statement, “No enigma, no dignity,
nothing classical, portentous, only his—a comic pornographer and a rabble of
prostitutes.” These weren’t the only examples of comedy in the play, but I
found that both of these were very similar in the elements that made them funny.
In both cases, comedy was the result of ironic and witty dialogue. The play in
general was funny, and I it just goes to show how any story can change due to a
change in perspective.
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