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    Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead


    @SLRHS Library

    Cover Art
    Looking for Hamlet - Marvin W. Hunt
    Call Number: 822.3 HUN
    ISBN: 140397036X
    Publication Date: 2007-12-10


    Assignment Document

    Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead Research Paper


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      Assignment Overview

      Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead Research Paper


      Your task as an analytical writer is to explore a theme of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. You must use textual evidence from the play and outside sources to support the claim you have created.

      Step One: Decide on your theme.

      Step Two: What literary techniques or devices help lead you, the reader, to this theme?

      Step Three: Figure out if there is there one illuminating moment in the play that serves as foundation of your theme. Gather your evidence from the text.

      Step Four: Searching for critical sources.

      You should look for:   

              Critical analysis of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

              Critical analysis of Hamlet

              Information on Theater of the Absurd, tragicomedies, Existentialism, Nihilism, Fatalism, or any information from these movement’s founders like Kierkegaard, Dostoevsky, Nietzsche, Sartre, Camus, Beckett, etc.

              Allusions and The Bible

              Anything written by or about Tom Stoppard--consider media sources involving Stoppard or possibly even interviews with Tim Roth and Gary Oldman from the movie version of Rosey and Guildy

              Theme in literature or plays

              Anything else you can think of that relates to your theme

      Step Five: Once you have all your information it’s time to start organizing it. Create an outline of your paper. Know the point of each body paragraph. Make sure your paper has flow and that it moves deeper as you go rather than staying stagnant. Include your textual evidence and outside sources in your outline.

      Step Six: Writing, editing, re-writing, more editing, re-writing, final product.


      Some helpful hints for your research writing journey...

              Stay focused – determine what, specifically, you are arguing and keep your focus tight. Don’t attempt to explore multiple themes!

              Use the text. Once you have determined your argument (thesis) draw up a list of those lines (including stage directions, heck, your focus could be on the stage directions) to best support your points.

              Consider those ideas/ themes/ lines that are REPEATED (and repeated with slight modifications) throughout the play.

              You may abbreviate Ros. And Guil. AFTER the 1st paragraph.

              Place the page number or critic’s last name in parenthesis after direct quotes. Set-up quotes so your ideas flow.

              Write in 3rd person present tense!

              Employ literary and analytical language!

              Keep your focus/ argument/ thesis in mind throughout your paper.

              ANALYZE, don’t summarize!

              For your closing paragraph, think “big picture.” What are the deeper questions raised by the play? How are those questions answered? Are they? Consider exploring the play’s FINAL MOMENTS in the final moments of your paper.


      Below are two example introductions. Read them and then answer for each...  

      What info about the play is presented in this intro?


      What is the writer’s thesis (argument)?


      Where will this writer need to go next?


      Of his Pulitzer Prize-winning tragicomedy, Tom Stoppard has said, “the chief interest and objective was to exploit a situation which seemed to me to have enormous dramatic and comic potential – of these two guys who in Shakespeare’s context don’t really know what they are doing.” Indeed, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead presents a “worm’s eye” view of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, and the result is a journey exploring life’s existential questions, from “Is there a choice?” (43) to “Is there a God?” (43) with meditations on chance and death along the way.

      “I think I’ll spend most of my life on boats,” (101) announces Guildenstern in the third act of Tom Stoppard’s critically-acclaimed tragicomedy Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. He and his companion are en route to England, on King Claudius’ orders, to deliver their boyhood friend to the English monarch. In essence, the plot is derived from Shakespeare’s Hamlet; however, Stoppard’s tale focuses on the two insignificant “smiling accomplices.” Indeed, positioning the pair “at sea” in Act III metaphorically “explore[s] comically the kind of existential angst expressed more formally by Shakespeare’s Hamlet. For Stoppard’s duo, the ship is a metaphor for life” (Harrison).


        @SLRHS Library

        Cover Art
        Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead - Tom Stoppard; Tom Stoppard
        Call Number: 822 STO (On Order)
        ISBN: 9780802132758
        Publication Date: 1988-05-01

        Cover Art
        Tom Stoppard - Jim Hunter; Charles Boyle (Contribution by)
        Call Number: On Order
        ISBN: 9780571197828
        Publication Date: 2000-08-28


        @SLRHS Reference

        Cover Art
        1,300 Critical Evaluations of Selected Novels and Plays - Frank N. Magill
        Call Number: REF 808.8 MAG
        ISBN: 089356043X
        Publication Date: 1978-01-01


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