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The Theme of Power in Hamlet: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

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Rosencrantz and Guildenstern minor characters in Shakespeare’ s play “ Hamlet” . However, in this particular play, they take major roles and are the central figures. The title of this play is derived directly from the last scene of Shakespeare’ s book, “ Hamlet” . Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are sailing on a ship with Prince Hamlet on their way to exile from Denmark to England. They pretend to be friends of prince Hamlet, but in the real sense, they carry a message written to the king of Denmark, Claudius, who is Hamlet’ s uncle. The message was ordering the murder of Hamlet.

The prince then finds out what message the two are carrying, switches it, and offers the king of England new targets in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern instead of himself. Throughout the play, both Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are used as pons in a chess game to carry out his evil deeds. The idea of incongruity is sufficiently portrayed in this play. It is absurd that all the ninety-two coin flips turn out to be head and that Rosencrantz wins all the coin tosses. This beats logic and goes against the law of probability.

This indicates how people often place their life events in probability of a certain event occurring and end up being disappointed as many times as Guildenstern was (Stoppard 82). This play also portrays insignificance. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern feel that they do not have self-control. They are ordered around, carry out tasks designated to them, and lack the free will to make their own decisions (Stoppard 82). The king and queen ordered them to find out what is wrong with Hamlet. Later they are also coerced to accompany him to England where he is supposed to meet his death.

The two are fully aware that their childhood friend is about to be murdered but lack the free will to warn him or help him in any way because of the decree given by the King. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern lives are also messed up that even make them wonder if they are significant enough to make decisions that would change their destiny (Stoppard 84).  

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