Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead
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Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

4.05 (74,417 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is one of the most enduring and frequently performed plays of contemporary theater and has firmly established itself in the dramatic canon. Acclaimed as a modern masterpiece, it is the fabulously inventive tale of Hamlet as told from the worm's-eye view of the bewildered Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, two minor characters in Shakespeare's play. In Tom Stoppard's best-known work, this Shakespearean Laurel and Hardy finally get a chance to take the lead role, but do so in a world where echoes of Waiting for Godot resound, where reality and illusion intermix, and where fate leads our two heroes to a tragic but inevitable end. Revised and reissued to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the play's first performance, this definitive edition includes a new introduction and previously unpublished ancillary material.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 128 pages
  • 137 x 206 x 10mm | 136g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 50th Anniversary ed.
  • 0802126219
  • 9780802126214
  • 354,146

Review quote

Praise for Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead "A masterpiece, not unlike Shakespeare's plays; it's artfully, imaginatively written, multidimensional, and hilarious."--New Yorker

"Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead . . . has proved its sturdiness and power to endure . . . It is, after all, the most performed, most studied, most earnestly analyzed and strenuously anatomized of all Mr. Stoppard's plays: the foundation of his international career and the inevitable starting point for anyone wanting to appreciate him."--Benedict Nightingale, New York Times

"A coruscatingly brilliant, endlessly thought-provoking masterpiece."--Wall Street Journal

"In making Rosencrantz and Guildenstern . . . Stoppard mixed the poetic melodrama of Shakespeare with the doom-laden minimalism of Samuel Beckett and topped it with the slapstick of the Marx Brothers."--Rolling Stone

"Very funny. Very brilliant. Very chilling. It has the dust of thought about it and the particles glitter excitingly in the theatrical air . . . This is a most remarkable and thrilling play. In one bound Mr. Stoppard is asking to be considered as among the finest English-speaking writers of our stage, for this is a work of fascinating distinction."--Clive Barnes, New York Times

"Astonishing -- a youthful prank bursting with theatrical mischief and literary flair."--Washington Post

"A tour de force . . . Fascinating . . . A triumph."--Roger Ebert

"Tom Stoppard's lively twist on Hamlet . . . [A] metapharcical romp . . . Stoppard's philosophizing playfulness is clearly indebted to the music hall absurdism of Waiting for Godot . . . Stoppard's fertile wit keeps this three-act drama pulsing along . . . A subtle pathos, along with the playwright's verbal sophistication, prevents the play from degenerating into a collegiate vaudeville . . . The language remains spry . . . It attains a comic lyricism that's as funny as it is piercing."--Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times

"Full of philosophizing, nuances and complexities . . . [An] absurdist tragi-comedy . . . Stoppard's . . . writing is pristine."--Charlotte Observer

"Like Beckett, Stoppard shows two figures struggling to find identity and purpose in a world that makes little sense . . . Stoppard is always praised for his intellectual ingenuity: far more important is how, even in his late 20s, he was obsessed with human transience."--Guardian

"After the first night of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead at the National Theatre in 1967, Tom Stoppard awoke and found himself famous. It's still a delightful shock, every few years, to be reminded how brilliant and engaging this play remains."--Independent (UK)

"Stoppard's too-clever-for-words little skit in the vicinity of Hamlet . . . This is absurdism 101 with a cultivated Oxbridge edge and an echo chamber of quotations and scattered emotional reverberations from the greatest enigma of a play ever written . . . A brilliant calling card."--Sydney Morning Herald

"Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead feels as fresh and inventive as it must have fifty years ago when it premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and catapulted Tom Stoppard to an international career that continues today. [An] occasionally baffling, always hilarious play."--Talkin' Broadway

"[A] brilliant play."--Philadelphia Inquirer

"Stoppard's intellectual word games and bits of comic business are exhilaratingly clever while Rosencrantz and Guildenstern's antics as they stumble in and out of Hamlet make them part Abbott and Costello, part Laurel and Hardy, part Olsen and Johnson, and part Vladimir and Estragon . . . Invigorating brilliance . . . A literate and thought-provoking celebration of the spoken word."--TV Guide

"Tom Stoppard's . . . meta-theater masterpiece."--A.V. Club

"[A] funny play . . . Stoppard wittily plucked two minor characters from Hamlet and created a dazzlingly wordy and deliberately confounding play . . . Although R & G is among the earliest of Stoppard plays, it has all the comic ingenuity and intellectual razzle-dazzle that has become his signature."--Curtain Up

"Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead . . . [is] now a solid part of the Stoppard canon, and . . . it's a treat . . . The two men become vehicles for Stoppard's non-stop wit with words, flow of ideas and diddling with logic . . . As always, Stoppard's cerebral work will leave some people energized by its storm of ideas."--NewsWorks

"Intimate, funny and anachronistically atmospheric . . . Without doubt, the play resides within the traditions of the Theatre of the Absurd . . . Stoppard makes it so entertainingly witty, fun and ultimately affecting, you will hardly notice you have been being existential . . . A testament to Stoppard . . . Medieval yet modern, silly yet existential, and all around thoroughly entertaining."--Metro Weekly

"This monumental and hugely successful play is a highly entertaining mind gym in which Stoppard uses a complex yet fluid dialogue between Rosencrantz and Guildenstern . . . to effortlessly explore the nature of our elusive and all-too-temporal existence."--Limelight Magazine (Australia)

"A classic of absurdist comedy . . . Mr. Stoppard has fun upending expectations . . . [A] seriously amusing romp."--CentralJersey.com
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About Tom Stoppard

Tom Stoppard is the author of such seminal works as Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Jumpers, The Real Thing, Arcadia, The Invention of Love, and the trilogy The Coast of Utopia. His screen credits include Parade's End, Shakespeare in Love, Enigma, Empire of the Sun, and Anna Karenina.
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Rating details

74,417 ratings
4.05 out of 5 stars
5 41% (30,480)
4 33% (24,924)
3 18% (13,472)
2 5% (4,057)
1 2% (1,484)
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