How Has Your Perception Of Transformations Been Illuminated By Your Comparative Study Of The Prescribed Texts?

1104 words - 4 pages

The notion of transformation is presented from the comparative study of the two prescribed texts, Hamlet written by William Shakespeare and "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead" (hereafter called as R&G) written by Tom Stoppard. The 20th century pay R&G is a transformation of the 16th century play Hamlet. Both texts share some similarities, whilst other ideas and themes are transformed from the original Shakespeare's text to Stoppard's R&G, and they change in the process. There is a transformation from the conventional Shakespeare's Hamlet into the radical R&G, where ideas or issues such as life, death and one's existence in society are questioned in the transformed R&G. In doing so, Stoppard uses the pastiche technique to redefine the original text with a new value in response to the society where he was in - the 1960s. Studying R&G and Hamlet side-by-side gives us an insight into the act of transformation. We see how different times produce different texts.Texts in general have been shaped by the culture and context in which they are produced. "Hamlet", as written in the 1600s, belongs to the Elizabethan Age. Shakespeare has written it as a revenge tragedy, in which an uncertainty and loss of trust in the monarchy is illustrated. In the play, the protagonist, Hamlet, questions his purpose, his very existence in a world that has been turned upside down.In contrast to Hamlet, the transformed text, R&G is written in an absurd way. Stoppard wrote such play in the 1960s, which was post World War II, in doing so, he intends to shows the changing perspectives of people in response to the threat of different world events, such as threat of nuclear devastation, loss of faith and movements of Existentialism, and nihilism, etc. The appropriation of the wings of Hamlet as the centre of R&G is an example of this transformed perspective, in which, the setting of minor characters - Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in Hamlet, become the main characters in R&G. Meanwhile, the setting of the characters who are generally powerless and their predetermined fates signifies the pessimism in general at that time.There is also a transformation in the characterization of both texts. As reflected from its title, Hamlet is the protagonist in Hamlet, and he is symbolized as a 'tragic hero'. In the Elizabethan time, plays are generally about some noble person, where they usually take place in the monarchy, princes, and heroes. The protagonist, Hamlet's inner self is revealed to the audience through his soliloquies, which in turn shows his attempts to find the 'truth'. These soliloquies also reveal his turmoil as tragic hero in the play. It is noted that in Hamlet, the characters, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are merely side casts, and they are portrayed as enemies who are working for the antagonist, Claudius.In contrast to Hamlet, R&G has a completely different characterization, where the protagonist in the original play, Hamlet is...

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