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Divine Right of Shakespeare Does the past influence what we do today The past has influenced what we humans have become today But do the values of the past still intrude on our lives today This question will inevitably lead to others such as Is there a God and Why are we here Such rhetorical questions may never be answered however whether the past effectively informs the present is one that could We examine the past text that is William Shakespeares Hamlet and the present day adaptation - Tom Stoppards Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead Ros Guil in order to discover an answer to this question Shakespeares play is considered a representation of the Elizabethan era which reflected the prevalent Christian values in the society there is a divinity that shapes our ends Hamlet is on the cusp of two ways of thinking - his medieval beliefs are conflicting with new Renaissance principles emphasised in the to be or not to be soliloquy However there is no doubt of his Christian faith Stoppards play is rather a shadow of the original work from which it draws its inspiration During a time where open rebellion against conventional attitudes appeared Stoppard appropriated the original text to highlight the minority roles of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern and their rather comical questioning of their existence roles and even identities within the play Although theatre has changed significantly throughout the years since Shakespeare wrote Hamlet the values Stoppard has depicted often relate back to Shakespeares For example both Hamlet and Ros and Guil seek to comment on drama and offer a sort of argument regarding the role of theatre Shakespeare and Stoppard employ metatheatre in order to comment on the analogy between drama and life both construct realities Shakespeare valued theatre a reflection or mirror to real life Hamlet uses the metaphor to hold a mirror up to nature to emphasise Shakespeares point Stoppard uses theatre of
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