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Written by Cheryl
(6/2/2003 11:41 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, GR: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, penned by Laraine
] One of the very, very best commentaries I've ever read on the themes of Hamlet is Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead .
I've never seen this, but have wanted to for ages...
] Hamlet has known them all his life, but they were "sent for" -- from where? If Hamlet's always known them, wouldn't they live where he grew up?
I, too, thought they were schoolfriends. When they talk about the Players coming, Hamlet asks if they are as popular as "when I was in the city". Since the last place he was before Elsinore was Wittenburg and school, I assumed this was the city of which he spoke.
] So why is it that they cannot figure out anything whatever about what's going on?
They seem to me to be more superficial friends. We all have friends whose company we enjoy and we do fun thing with (like go to the theatre) but with whom we never communicate on a deeper level. This is the feeling I get with R&G - they are fun lads, they are party friends, but they're not kindred spirits. That is Horatio's role, I think. (more on him later!)
] Why does it never occur to them to turn back to Elsinore after Hamlet has left the ship? Are they afraid of Claudius being angry that they lost him? I sure think I'd have either turned back or read the letter.
I think they're afraid to go back and tell Claudius that they lost Hamlet. Claudius was not at his most easy-going when they left. And though the letter was all about Hamlet, they couldn't be sure of that. It could have also included some diplomatic stuff, matters of state and they would have been in even more trouble if they hadn't delivered it.
They like Hamlet, but they aren't going to go against any royal orders...
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