The notion of transformation is presented from the comparative study of the two prescribed texts, Hamlet written by William Shakespeare and "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead" (hereafter called as R&G) written by Tom Stoppard. The 20th century pay R&G is a transformation of the 16th century play Hamlet. Both texts share some similarities, whilst other ideas and themes are transformed from the original Shakespeare's text to Stoppard's R&G, and they change in the process. There is a transformation from the conventional Shakespeare's Hamlet into the radical R&G, where ideas or issues such as life, death and one's existence in society are questioned in the transformed R&G. In doing so, Stoppard uses the pastiche technique to redefine the original text with a new value in response to the society where he was in - the 1960s. Studying R&G and Hamlet side-by-side gives us an insight into the act of transformation.
We see how different times produce different texts.
Texts in general have been shaped by the culture and context in which they are produced. "Hamlet", as written in the 1600s, belongs to the Elizabethan Age. Shakespeare has written it as a revenge tragedy, in which an uncertainty and loss of trust in the monarchy is illustrated. In the play, the protagonist, Hamlet, questions his purpose, his very existence in a world that has been turned upside down.
In contrast to Hamlet, the transformed text, R&G is written in an absurd way. Stoppard wrote such play in the 1960s, which was post World War II, in doing so, he intends to shows the changing perspectives of people in response to the threat of different world events, such as threat of nuclear devastation, loss of faith and movements of Existentialism, and nihilism, etc. The appropriation of the wings of Hamlet as the...