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Rosencrantz and Guildenstern as Comic Essay

  • Submitted by: anonymous
  • on March 26, 2014
  • Category: English
  • Length: 481 words

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Below is an essay on "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern as Comic" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

‘To be comic, the ending must forcefully call into question the issue of happiness and forever after.’ To what extent does the ending of ‘Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead’ achieve this?

For ‘Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead’ to be considered of the comic genre and satisfy it’s intertwining links with Shakespeare, the comedy must be light and clever, love must overcome obstacles and finally the natural order must be restored at the end. Futhermore, Aristotle’s Poetics denote that a piece in the comic genre must contain a happy ending. ‘Happy forever after’ is a an ending associated most readily with fairytales and therefore resolution and closure, features all prominent in the key happy endings in all of Shakespeare’s comedies. So therefore all the tragic elements of the comic ending (on the surface) must be taken into account to be able to truly consider whether this play achieves the classic comic ending associated with the genre.

Before addressing the larger connotations and underlying themes of the ending, one must first consider whether in fact the ending is comic. The physical humour of the pirate attack and barrel sequence cannot be questioned - the farce sequences would most definitely render comedy for an audience: they reiterate the strong theme of miscommunication that is present throughout the play, which creates a cyclic and satisfying feature to the ending, a long with the similarities of the beginning and the ending, where they are “alone in the dark” - revolution and closure being key elements of the comic genre. Though both slapstick sequences show an undoubtably comic occurrence, most other comic events readily presented by Stoppard can be viewed with a more macabre interpretation, drawing on the wider and more metonymic images. For example the stabbing of the player is a shocking opsis as we see Guildenstern desire to show the Player what everyone faces - proving real death. This creates comedy due to the theory of release when we...

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