Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead, announces the First Ambassador in Hamlet. The demise of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern is overlooked amidst the bloodbath and body count in the final act of Hamlet, but Tom Stoppard’s 1966 play turns Shakespeare’s story inside out and propels these minor characters to the centre-stage while the protagonist Hamlet becomes a background character.
In Hamlet, the King tasks courtiers Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Hamlet’s childhood friends, to discover the reasons behind Hamlet’s erratic behaviour and melancholic moods. However, most of their scenes are off-stage and Stoppard’s play fleshes out these fleeting characters as they stumble around trying to understand the events happening around them.
Read my full review here!