Compare and contrast the ways in which 'Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead' by Tom Stoppard and 'Waiting for Godot' by Samuel Beckett teach important insights about the human condition.
Inspired by Beckett's literary style, particularly in 'Waiting for Godot', Stoppard wrote 'Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead'. As a result of this, many comparisons can be drawn between these two plays. Stoppard's writing was also influenced by Shakespeare's 'Hamlet'. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern as minor characters exist within Shakespeare's world providing Stoppard with his protagonists. However, the play is not an attempt to rewrite 'Waiting for Godot' in a framework of Shakespeare's drama.
In studying these texts, the reader is provoked into analysing, comparing and contrasting them. In particular the characters in 'Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead' provide intriguing material to consider the human condition. The characters, their personality traits and responses to stimuli, as well as what directs and motivates them, is worthy of discussion.
Stoppard gives Rosencrantz and Guildenstern an existence outside 'Hamlet', although it is one of little significance and they idle away their time only having a purpose to their lives when the play rejoins the 'Hamlet' plot, after they have been called by the King's messenger: "There was a messenger...that's right. We were sent for." Their lives end tragically due to this connection with 'Hamlet', predetermined by the title, but the role provided them with a purpose to their otherwise futile lives, making them bearable. Their deaths evoke sadness and sympathy leaving the reader grieving for them.
In contrast to Stoppard's play 'Waiting for Godot' is much bleaker in the respect that Vladimir and Estragon seem to have no purpose or direction in their lives. Their only hope rests on the mysterious Godot...