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Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead Introduction For our final text of this semester and the Liberal Studies program we are considering the first major work of a writer who in the thirty years since this play first appeared has emerged as a leading playwright in England one of the most popular and frequently produced writer there perhaps with the exception of Sir Andrew Lloyd Weber the high priest of McTheatre the most popular In selecting this play for study we want to provide at the end of the program some attention to drama particularly to some of the complexities of what has come to be called Theatre of the Absurd as well as to offer something very funny a quality lacking in much of the twentieth century reading we have been engaged with for the past semester I know that a few of you have been having some difficulty with the text of the play but I hope an experience of the film has helped to bring out the wonderful and often amusing verbal and theatricality fluency of Stoppards style In my discussion of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead I want to focus on a number matters which may help explain the sometimes bewildering style of the play and in addition make some connections with works we have read in Liberal Studies so that this lecture is not only a partial explication of the work but also something of a reminder of some of the places where we have been Dramatic Horizons of Significance Before turning to Stoppards play however Id like to linger for a few moments on those plays we have read in Liberal Studies some Greek tragedies Aristophaness Clouds and Shakespeares Tempest and most importantly Hamlet These all contain elements that seem to be lacking in Stoppards play--and our initial confusion if there is any may stem in large part from our sense that
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