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Who Are Rosencrantz And Guildernstern First performed in 1603 Hamlet is probably the best known of William Shakespeares works and may well be the most famous English language play ever written But while Hamlet has been the subject of critical analysis since Elizabethan times the 1960s saw Tom Stoppard bring Hamlet back to life with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead Using Shakespeares work as his own starting point he makes the two minor characters from the title who were off-stage become on-stage All the worlds a stage William Shakespeare The transformation between these two texts is fascinating as the past 350 years has had an incredible effect upon the English language and the ever transforming contexts of the times So lets make a stereotypical conclusion about the Elizabethans They lived life in a hierarchical system dominated by monarchs priests to the wealthier citizens right down to animals plants and the basic elements This is shown through Hamlet as many of the protagonists are monarchs or high ranking members of their countrys nobility Act 2 scene 1 of Hamlet we see Reynaldo a servant to Polonius demonstrating this hierarchical system through his conversation Polonius Observe his inclination in yourself Reynaldo I shall my lord Over the past few hundred years playwrights have expressed more interest the common man In comparison to Tom Stoppards composition the contexts from which the two pieces were written begin to emerge Ros Position Player Sir scene 1 p23-24 During Hamlets procrastination his unwillingness to commit suicide or take revenge upon Claudius demonstrates the strong Christian beliefs of the time The revenge itself was on one occasion delayed by Hamlet because Claudius was praying Although Christianity is still an importance to many people of today it is not nearly as dominant in their lives as it was with the Elizabethans The transformation of the travelling performers into a group of perverted strumpets is one such
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