The theatre act is about two people on a stage. They are often joined by the persona of hamlet who Shakespeare used in his plays. The two, Guildenstern and Rosencrantz are in a train and in constant movement to go around and collect things. This play is about things in life a person wants and what he can get. The play also gives the audience various possibilities by developing a multi-dimensional line of thought. This is greatly supported by the games that they play on stage.
The play begins with the two characters standing near each other. Apparently, Guil has a basket that is completely empty as opposed to his partner’s that appears top be full. This gives an impression of the haves and the have-nots in the world today. No matter how rich or poor a person is there will always be activities that will tend to tie them down together. This can be social, economic, or cultural. However, the act goes forward to illustrate that in any of the situations one of the two will always benefit while the other will lose something. Guil takes a coin then tosses it up in some act of gambling (Stoppard act 1). The coin falls and turns to be heads, which Ros had bet on, and then goes forward to pick the coin and put it in his basket. This shows the inconsistency that is created by unequal distribution of resources.
Furthermore, the two characters often threaten to stop their association. It is an allusion to the strife that is created due to such inequalities. in act two Guil says, ‘You and I, Alfred - we could create a dramatic precedent here' in reference to walking away from the stage and leaving the audience. This creates quite a dramatic scene but the play goes on and these are only seen as unrealistic threats. This relationship goes on but apparently, Ros is depicted as the beneficiary while Guil continues losing his bets every now and then. Stoppard gives these two characters limelight whereby in hamlet Shakespeare had relegated them to the minor roles. The use of games in the play greatly enhances the themes of winning or losing in real life. However, I would take the games as gambles that we make in situations that face us in life. Stoppard, although crating a play consisting of two foolish characters, is able to toy with the feelings of the audience (Stoppard act 2). The two even threaten to vomit on the audience in act 3. The play-writ is trying to get the audience more involved by raising feelings of disgust due to the uncouth behavior of the two main characters.
In act two, the two characters engage in a wordplay that eventually degenerates into a silly game. They are joined by a player had been previously participated in previous games but just before the word play begins he says he is yet to catch up with Ros and Guil. The two then go on the threaten him while alluding to roman cultural feats. The player has lost so many times that he eventually decides to follow the instructions of the two though bitterly. He says in act 2.112
“to be tricked out of the single assumption which makes our existence viable – that somebody is watchingThe plot was two corpses gone before we caught sight of ourselves, stripped naked in the middle of nowhere and pouring ourselves down a bottomless well"
The two then go ahead to trick and tease the player about the times he has lost. This actually is meant to raise the emotions of the audience. The scenario that is created brings out a picture of oppression. Furthermore, the player’s complaints are only received with giggles and further mocking from the two. He tells them that he had participated in Hamlet, and would prefer to take part in more classical plays than the foolish games in this play. The two then try to convince him not to leave the stage but he eventually does and the two are left alone calling for the next player but nobody shows. This is the turning point in the play because the coin is apparently lost. This coin could be the symbol of authority they have in gambling on other plays and characters in classical theatre acts. They start to talk about death before the scene changes and the play takes center stage on the classical work Hamlet (Stoppard act 2).
The entry of hamlet changes the environment and the ambiance around the play. The two characters are fearful to approach him. This may be because of the lost coin that had given them authority over other players and actors. The Player who had exited the stage then returns with authority relegating Ros and Guil to lower positions. Apparently, this play makes him to rule even over the other players. The player goes on to call the shots in this play within the play and after a short while the tragedian King passes on and the player is seen to have the last say about the characters upcoming deaths. He concludes
There is a design at work in all art – surely, you know that? Events must play themselves out to aesthetic, moral and logical conclusion" (2.310).
In conclusion, this play tries to fuse previous classical works to create an environment where the characters frequently change from positions of powered to servant hood. When a play such as the hamlet is played within the theatre act, the main characters become the centre stage. They then go on to do the exact things that they had been done to while in subject positions. The people in power always have what they want while the subjects are to follow all the set guidelines.
Stoppard, Tom. Rozencrants And Guildesters Are Dead. Edinburgh, Scotland: N.p., 1966. Print.