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Shakespearean parallels and affinities with the Theatre of the absurd in Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts.
1982 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The study elucidates the relation of Tom Stoppard's play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead to Hamlet on the one hand and to the Theatre of the Absurd on the other. The two plays chosen to represent the Theatre of the Absurd are Samuel Beckett1 s Waiting for Godot and Harold Pinter* s The Caretaker. Since Stoppard is admired as a master craftsman of language, the emphasis is on his use of language.

The extent to which the use of the cliché characterizes the three absurd plays is examined. It is found that the language area covered by the term cliche is not clearly defined and that the term is not uniformly applied. The inquiry centres on finding features, such as repetition, music-hall passages and "ready-made" language, that could explain why the dialogue in the three plays might appear cliche-ridden and on comparing the three plays in respect of these features.  

The study further draws parallels between Stoppard's play and Waiting for Godot in the use of various techniques, such as misunderstandings, anticlimax and afterthought. It is found that there is often a conscious adoption by Stoppard of Beckett's techniques.

To clarify the relation of Stoppard's play to Hamlet various aspects of the two plays are studied. These aspects include changes introduced into stereotyped expressions, punning, the use of parody and the handling of two specific motives, madness and death. Parallels are found in spite of the fact that several centuries separate the two plays, not least in respect to style, technique and language.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet , 1982. , 218 p.
Keyword [en]
Stoppard, Tom, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Hamlet, Beckett, Samuel, Waiting for Godot, Pinter, Harold, The Caretaker, The Theatre of the Absurd, absurd drama, cliché
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-66936ISBN: 91-7174-116-XOAI: diva2:610866
Public defence
1983-01-17, Humanisthuset, hörsal F, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 10:00
Available from: 2013-03-13 Created: 2013-03-07 Last updated: 2013-03-13Bibliographically approved

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