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Transformations In Hamlet And Stoppard's Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead.

1093 words - 4 pages

The process of transformation involves much more than just the adaptation of ideas and form to contemporary audiences. Discuss this statement in relation to Shakespeare's Hamlet and Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.The process of transformation of William Shakespeare?s Hamlet to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead by Tom Stoppard involved more than just the adaptation of ideas and form to contemporary audience. As a writer, Stoppard also added original themes, changed character personalities and included modern allusions and philosophical theories, to create meaning for a contemporary audience. It can be seen that the transformation from Hamlet to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead involved much more than just the adaptation of ideas and form to contemporary audiences.Tom Stoppard added original themes which were not present in the original text Hamlet. One such theme is the nature of theatre. Theatre as a theme was not discussed in Hamlet, but was brought up by The Player in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. During The Player?s dress rehearsal of the ?Murder of Gonzago,? Guildenstern tells The Player that actors are ?the mechanics of cheap melodrama? and that ?you die so many times; how can you expect them to believe in your death?? Guildenstern?s statement is a direct reference to theatre and raises the issue of actors and the truth, to which The Player replies that the melodramatic death is ?the only kind they do believe.? The Player goes on to tell how he had someone condemned to death actually be hung on stage as part of the act, but ?he just wasn?t convincing! It was impossible to suspend one?s disbelief.? The Player?s retort argues that in theatre, the audience is so used to melodrama that the truth is no longer convincing, and that the audience wants more than the truth. Statements such as these are important as they involve the audience who are participants of the theatre. This is one theme which is explored at intervals throughout Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, but is not present in Hamlet as it is a creation of Tom Stoppard in the process of transformation.Characters were changed by Stoppard in his transformation of Hamlet to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. In Hamlet, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are minor characters, appearing in few scenes and their feelings and emotions were not important enough to be said on stage. Their names were not even important enough for the main characters to remember, with the King and Queen and Hamlet mixing up their names as ?Rosencrantz and gentle Guildenstern? and ?Gentle Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.? However, in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, the two minor characters are now the focus of the play and hence the title bearing their name. The characters were given personalities, Rosencrantz introduced as being ?nice enough to feel a little embarrassed at taking so much money off his friend?, while Guildenstern?s character note being ?worried by the...

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