And GuildensternAs Shakespeares Hamlet is recounted from another point of view, in TomStoppards Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, a new sense of witty comedyis sprung forth from the classic play. In all actuality, the play is classifiedas a tragic comedy, because although the dialogue and flow of the play is one ofa laid back comedy, the play does end in death. Its as though the two,Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, put off a sort of dumb vibe, I mean they canteven get their names straight. In the end though, I would have to say that theirconfusion is really the source of most of their stupidity. In one instance,Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, play a question and answer type game to sharpen upon their skills for their upcoming encounter with Hamlet.
In the Abbot andCostello, “Whos on First” style, the two would throw out a series ofquestions, confusing both the reader and themselves. Not only was the basis oftheir questions comical, but also the manner in which they asked them and scoredthemselves in a tennis-like way. Following this completely stupid question gamethe two enacted a hypothetical encounter with Hamlet.
It almost took all ofRosencrantzs brain power just to understand the fact that Guildenstern wasacting as Hamlet. The hilarious conversation ended up in Rosencrantz arriving atthe following conclusion, “To sum up: your father, whom you love, dies, youare his heir, you come back to find that hardly was the corpse cold before hisyoung brother popped onto his throne and into his sheets, thereby offending bothlegal and natural practice. Now why exactly are you behaving in thisextraordinary manner?” In Act II, the lonesome couple, encounter some anacting group passing them by. In hope of a performance, Rosencrantz andGuildenstern were quite surprised as to what the players had in mind. This sceneis sure to crack a few laughs wherever its performed. Here the twomisunderstand what type of entertainment the players have in store for them,until he the head player suggests that theyd probably enjoy themselves moreif they get involve.
Finally, Guildenstern realized what they were getting atand clears up all the confusion with this statement, “No enigma, no dignity,nothing classical, portentous, only hisa comic pornographer and a rabble ofprostitutes.” These werent the only examples of comedy in the play, but Ifound that both of these were very similar in the elements that made them funny.In both cases, comedy was the result of ironic and witty dialogue.
The play ingeneral was funny, and I it just goes to show how any story can change due to achange in perspective.