ACT II, SCENE III Enter HAMLET, ROSENCRANTZ, GUILDENSTERN, HALL and OATES. Does this finale mean that death is a bad thing? The title of this Tom Stoppard play, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, is taken from the final scene of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. As long as Although Hamlet receives a “happy ending” by avenging his father’s death and killing Claudius, much of Hamlet’s success caused the deaths of many innocent lives e.g. HALL Mmmm, yeah. A British ambassador shows up in the final scene for the sole purpose of saying, "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead" (5.2.411). CLAUDIUS and GERTRUDE enter with ROSENCRANTZ , GUILDENSTERN, and attendants. Hamlet. Observing the same scenes from a different viewpoint makes the audience question the normalcy of what is occurring. 5.2 Hamlet announces that he arranged for Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to be killed. Within the castle, Claudius and Gertrude welcome Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, two of Hamlet’s friends from Wittenberg. Even though Rosencrantz and Guildenstern die before the mass death scene in Act V, Shakespeare works it so that we find out they've been killed at the same time everyone else is dying. In this case, Hamlet talking to himself in Hamlet … Hamlet calls his classmates the worst kind of parasites. HAMLET My excellent good friends! ROSENCRANTZ As the indifferent children of the earth. After Rosencrantz and Guildenstern admit to Hamlet’s suspicions that they were recruited by the king and queen to spy on him, Hamlet accuses them of being “sponge[s]” who let themselves be taken advantage of by doing Claudius’s dirty work. Some critics speculate that Shakespeare means for us to infer that Hamlet, knowing that pirates lurk in every bay, has arranged for the pirates to subvert Rosencrantz and Guildenstern's mission. Summary: Act II, scene ii.

4.4 Hamlet philosophizes about death on the way to England; Rosencrantz tells Hamlet to get a move on. The dead people are all lying on the floor when, out of the blue, an English ambassador walks in and says, "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead." I’ve wanted to see you for a long time now, but I sent for you so hastily because I need your help right away. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are two minor characters from Hamlet, but Stoppard’s play sees this reversed, with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern becoming the main characters and the other, more central, Hamlet characters being reduced to minor roles. Welcome, dear Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. 4.2 Rosencrantz and Guildenstern try to get Hamlet to tell them where he hid Polonius' body. Mmmm, yeah, hey.

The King, Hamlet suggests, keeps Rosencrantz and Guildenstern around "as an ape doth nuts, and in the corner of his jaw; first mout'd to be last swallowed." But let me conjure you by the rights of our fellowship, by the consonancy of our youth, by the obligation of our ever-preserved love, and by what more dear a better proposer could charge you withal, be even and direct with me, whether you were sent for or no. After Rosencrantz and Guildenstern report their failure to find the cause of Hamlet’s madness, Polonius places Ophelia where he and Claudius may secretly observe a meeting between her and Hamlet. Hamlet finally reveals his full disdain for Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, saying that he has neither love nor respect for them or their King, to whom he refers as a "thing." Welcome, dear Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Hamlet acts happy to see Rosencrantz and Guildenstern at first—but as the scene progresses, it becomes clear that he wants to confuse, mislead, and toy with them just as he did to Polonius. After Rosencrantz and Guildenstern admit to Hamlet’s suspicions that they were recruited by the king and queen to spy on him, Hamlet accuses them of being “sponge[s]” who let themselves be taken advantage of by doing Claudius’s dirty work. Hamlet is onto them, and refuses to be made a fool of by any of the courtiers at Elsinore. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern seem genuinely shocked by Hamlet’s treatment of them at the end of act III, scene II, in which he is dismissive and impolite.

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