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"Characters and their actions can often be equated with certain ideas and values."
~Writing About Literature by Roberts, page 123

I think that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern from Tom Stoppard's play can be equated with the idea of carefree living. Throughout almost the entire play, these two characters have many random conversations that give them the appearance of not really taking life too seriously. The play opens with them simply tossing a coin in the air and betting on heads or tales. There is one particular scene later in act one in which the two simply go back and forth answering questions with questions. At the same time, they are serious when it is necessary to be. Maybe the whole point of this is to take things seriously when necessary, but otherwise have fun. No one can be completely serious at all times.

Does anyone have a different take on this?


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Comments (3)

Note that there is a little tension between them -- they don't both have the same level of disengagement with the outside world.

I think that Stoppard has the two have these random conversations in order to establish their character: they are so clueless that they are constantly trying to figure out what is going on; in the process, they miss the big picture. Their overly-analytical nature allows them to be easily distracted, and good pawns.

I agree with you Jen, no one can be serious all the time. I just don't really think that R and G realized they were being serious.

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