Tom Stoppard Writing Styles in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

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Comedy

One of the most distinguishing features of Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is the way it moves in and out of the plot of Shakespeare's Hamlet and changes tone as it does so. While Shakespeare's play has many moments of rich humor, it is basically serious and tragic, while Stoppard's treatment of the Shakespearean story is distinctly comic, even farcical.

Much of Stoppard's comedy comes, then, from the implicit contrast with Shakespearean solemnity. As the most famous tragedy of the most respected playwright in the history of the world, Hamlet conjures up an image of high seriousness, but when we meet Stoppard's courtiers at the beginning of his play they are casually flipping coins and speaking in colloquial, informal prose rather than Shakespearean verse. The rag-tag tragedians add even more contrast with Shakespearean seriousness, especially when they descend in their financial desperation to the suggestion of a...

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This section contains 923 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead Study Guide
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Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.