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Rosencrantz & Guildenstern A CHARACTER ANALYSIS. Rosencrantz & Guildenstern - Gives the instructions - Upper hand of the relationship - Intense character.

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Presentation on theme: "Rosencrantz & Guildenstern A CHARACTER ANALYSIS. Rosencrantz & Guildenstern - Gives the instructions - Upper hand of the relationship - Intense character."— Presentation transcript:

1 Rosencrantz & Guildenstern A CHARACTER ANALYSIS

2 Rosencrantz & Guildenstern - Gives the instructions - Upper hand of the relationship - Intense character - More mature - Easily distracted - Slow at understanding things - Curious and inquisitive - Comical characteristics - Laid back character - Less mature Old school friends of Hamlet, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are commissioned to spy on Hamlet to reveal the cause of his madness by king Claudius. They are described as ‘half-men’, which refers to their dialogue, their characters and is often used as comic relief by directors where they are addressed interchangeably and cause minor confusion in the court. It is also noticeable that as the play progresses their relationship with Hamlet deteriorates wherein they continue to spy on him and he continues to know they are trying to find the source of madness. In Tom Stoppard’s, “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead” the characters of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are able to be developed and we come to understand their relationship in further depth.

3 Act 2, Scene 2, Lines 254-277 EXTRACT № 01

4 254 255 260 265 270 275 277 Scene: The Great Hall in Elsinore Castle Context: R&G have just arrived at the castle, been formally greeted by Claudius and Gertrude and been charged to suss out what is grieves Hamlet. They have then met with Hamlet for the first time, and shared some superficial banter about R&G’s dwelling in ‘the secret parts of Fortune’. Hamlet is just starting to question their purpose. Structure. Conversation entirely in prose, indicating the informal atmosphere. Characterisation. R&G innocent, impressionable and ‘obsequious’ pair. | Hamlet, knowing the conversation is at a stalemate, draws more + more on their increasingly strained friendship. | Irony in Hamlet promising to be ‘honest’.| Hamlet different to how they remember, and he puts them on the spot with over-friendliness. Interpretations. Hamlet/R&G the old friends, Hamlet imploring them for honesty vs. Hamlet the sorry interrogator, who does his best to put them make them break as few promises as possible. Literary Techniques. Discord in the tone between the joviality and increasing tension. | Repetition of questions, rephrased. | Asides. | Quantity each character has to say – Hamlet having to work hard to extract the information.

5 1:32

6 Act 3, Scene 1, Lines 001-028 EXTRACT № 02

7 001 005 010 015 Scene: The Great Hall in Elsinore Castle Context: R&G report to Claudius and Gertrude about their encounter with Hamlet and how he is unwilling to speak about his madness, however expressed his excitement when hearing the news of the arrival of the players. Claudius asks them to enquire further on his ‘delights’ of the players arrival. Structure. Is very conversation based, written in prose, however in longer phrases rhythm is noticeable though it is not recognisably iambic pentameter, rather just poetic and rhythmic. Literary Techniques. Enjambment and caesura, careful, expressive diction, theme - Hamlet’s madness, spoken as a matter of facts

8 020 025 028 Characterisation. As in almost all R&G scenes their dialogue is interchangeable and specific. They have been sent for a purpose and have carried out that purpose, not realising at the time, that they are in the midst of a story of murder and revenge, which will ultimately deliver them to a dark fate. It is evident that Claudius is simply interested in why Hamlet is mad, as he is suspicious that Hamlet is at all mad, Polonius just agrees with everyone, and Gertrude seems genuinely concerned about her sons “lunacy”. Interpretations.

9 Act 4, Scene 2, Lines 001-028 EXTRACT № 03

10 001 005 010 Scene: A corridor in the castle Context: This extract starts at the beginning of a scene (and goes until the end: it’s a very short scene…). Hamlet has just hidden Polonius’ body. Men are searching the castle for him, and R&G are the first to find him. Structure. Conversation entirely in prose, indicating an informal atmosphere, or perhaps one preoccupied with more pressing matters than to worry about how properly things are said. Characterisation. By this stage R&G are questioning whether they really know Hamlet at all. | As aforementioned, they struggle to keep pace with his rapid changes of focus. | In a crisis such as this R&G revert to the most sensible thing to do, (or what they’ve been charged with doing). Literary Techniques. Minimalism of stage directions. | Pace of the scene, Hamlet keeps the conversation moving and R&G have a hard time keeping up. | Disrespectful diction when referring to Polonius’ body, poetic diction when philosophising on the transience of life. | Contrast of Rosencrantz’ monosyllabic speech with Hamlet’s more flowery phrases.

11 015 020 025 028 Characterisation. Hamlet becomes nigh on patronising, and is obviously critical of R&G’s seeming inability to do what they themselves think is right. (Although the extent to which this is played up differs with interpretation). | Again, like the ‘fools’ Hamlet seems to think they are, R&G revert to the Claudius’ orders. | Throughout this scene Hamlet verbally forces Rosencrantz onto the back foot… | The fox could be Claudius, Polonius or Hamlet himself. Literary Techniques. Metaphor of the sponge, representing the obsequious of R&G. | Simile ‘like an ape’. | Rhyming repetition of ‘king’ and ‘thing’. “Comedy is both a theatrical device and a way in which we try and deal with our hopelessness.” ~ “The representation of madness is one of the greatest challenges a playwright may face; and it is one of the most chilling theatrical experiences a playgoer can be subjected to.”


13 The sight is dismal, And our affairs from England come too late. The ears are senseless that should give us hearing, To tell him his commandment is fulfilled, That Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead. Where should we have our thanks? ” “

14 Luke Thorburn 2012 Kirstin Clements &

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