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Tom Stoppard has appropriated the classic Shakespearean play Hamlet in his own play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead What was once a traditionally structured play revolving around important characters such as Kings and Queens has become an absurdist play about ordinary men The concentration on characters is reversed and the minor characters become major fixtures when not only does Stoppard adapt ideas and form from Hamlet he also takes two small irrelevant characters and creates a stage only for them We see what has happened offstage in Hamlet onstage in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead Stoppard has taken the themes and characters in Hamlet and related them to modern society Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead represents more than simply a new backdrop and modern language to Hamlet as it shows an entirely different representation of the events that occurred and transforms Rosencrantz and Guildenstern from two manipulative characters into doomed manipulated men While Hamlet has a formal traditional structure Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead has a more modern and unrestrictive format This relates to the difference in the two different societies the authors belonged to and wrote for Shakespeares audience would have expected to be entertained by a spectacular story with certain conventions whereas in Stoppards time the people enjoy a challenging and original play Stoppard has transformed Hamlet a revered literary masterpiece by a playwright idolised by our society into a joke The major characters in Hamlet are the royal family of Denmark This is considered to be the highest social position in society yet in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead these important people are reduced into absurd characters who make unexpected entrances and exits and on the whole dont make much sense whatsoever The audience are unable to relate to them at all and they appear unrealistic use unfamiliar and pompous language and are seen as superficial actors in an unimaginative play In Hamlet Rosencrantz and Guildenstern betray their good friend
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