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Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. Tom Stoppard. Tom Stoppard. 1937 – Czech Republic Father killed during WWII Mom remarried British officer in India – Kenneth Stoppard; moved to England Left school at 17 and became a journalist Hated it and became theater critic

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Presentation Transcript
tom stoppard
Tom Stoppard
  • 1937 – Czech Republic
  • Father killed during WWII
  • Mom remarried British officer in India – Kenneth Stoppard; moved to England
  • Left school at 17 and became a journalist
    • Hated it and became theater critic
  • First play 1960; R&G 1966; film version in 1990
  • Oscar 1998 – Shakespeare in Love
thematic topics
Thematic Topics
  • Free will versus fate
    • Role in a mechanical universe (think Grendel)
  • Death
  • Personal Identity – minor versus major characters
  • “Art imitates life which imitates art” – post-modern ideal
  • Philosophical play – theater of the absurd
    • Not concerned with intellectual depth; distances anxiety by placing it on a metaphysical plane
rosencrantz vs guildenstern
Rosencrantz vs. Guildenstern
  • Seemingly indistinguishable – together they make an Everyman
    • Rosencrantz
      • Accepts situations without question
      • Movie vs. play (scientific hypotheses)
    • Guildenstern
      • Intellectual
      • Hopes world is about chance not predestination
  • Both are confused …
philosophies of the play
Philosophies of the Play
  • Theatre of the Absurd
    • Type of play which first became popular during the 1950s and 1960s espousing the philosophy of Albert Camus’s The Myth of Sisyphus.
    • The human condition is basically meaningless; thus, “Camus argued that humanity had to resign itself to recognizing that a fully satisfying rational explanation of the universe was beyond its reach; in that sense, the world must ultimately be seen as absurd” (Crabb).
      • Absurdism
      • Existentialism
theoretical probability
Theoretical Probability
  • Probability is a likelihood that an event will happen

P(event) = # of favorable outcomes

total # of possible outcomes

  • Act I – Coin toss
  • Characters are part of a controlled environment – natural laws do not apply