è The works of Stoppard are saturated with a huge number of allusions,
quotations and citations both in the original language (Shakespearean English,
French, Latin, Ancient Greek), and in translation. This intertextual material
can lead the reader to decipher the author’s idea, expanding the context of the
work. As noted by the British researchers of Stoppard’s work, in plays the
playwright is inclined to raise questions without giving his own clear and
definitive answers. Hence the duality of the reading of each Stoppard product
that we have repeatedly stated.
è The basis of the composition “Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern”
is composed of verbal and musical themes that are realized in the text of the
play with the help of a number of repetitive motifs (leitmotifs), the most
important are themes of fate and fate, eternity, insanity, randomness and free
will. The leitmotif of expectation is manifested in the form of the Stoppard
variation of “Godot’s expectation” and at the level of the main
characters – Rosencrantz and Guildenstern – the intertextual connection with
Shakespeare’s tragedy is viewed. A particular manifestation of the hero’s
attribution to the Shakespearean text is their dependence on Prince Hamlet. At
the same time, the attitude of Rosa and Gil to Hamlet is of the same nature as
Bekett’s vagabonds to Godot. While Hamlet is alive, Rosencrantz and
Guildenstern are still on stage; until Godot appeared, Vladimir and Estragon
will not leave the agreed place. The motive for spying in the play of Stoppard
in many respects echoes the Beckett motive of inaction, since for Rosa and Gil,
not dedicated to the Sheksperian text, the fulfillment of the mission entrusted
to them is absolutely impossible.
The heroes of the play of
Stoppard are equally doomed not only to death, but also to immortality, because
they are fixed in the space and time of the classical work – “Hamlet”
by William Shakespeare. The conceptual core of T. Stoppard’s work – the theme
of life-death-immortality – is declared by the playwright already in the title
of his first play.
The first intertext model
that we can single out is the use of a quote from another work as a title.
Intertextual reference to the theme of life-death-immortality is already in the
title of the play, which unites different cultural epochs. The title informs
about the paradoxical author’s attitude, which consists in deducing the
deceased as acting persons.
In the play, this
intertextual layer is shown in a comic key. Gil, puzzled by the fact that he
loses all the time, tries to apply the methods known to him, – the theory of
probability, the laws of averages. However, Gil, Shakespeare’s hero, dressed in
the costume of the Elizabethan era, in principle, can not be familiar with
these laws. Such an anachronism performs two functions in the play. First, it
reflects the typical for postmodernism arbitrary perception of time. Secondly,
the fact that Gil is familiar with at least the names of these mathematical
discoveries, demonstrates the timelessness of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, due
to their belonging to Shakespeare’s immortal tragedy.
Practically the whole play of
Stoppard is presented in the form of an intertextual polylogue. Even before the
verbal parties of heroes begin to sound, the “foreign” artistic
languages-Shakespeare’s (through the title) and Beckett’s (by opening the
action of the author’s remark) are introduced into the space of the Stoppard
play. In a number of cases, all three votes occupy equal positions, there are
episodes in which one of the artistic languages ??dominates. But, anyway, the
conceptual originality of “Rosenkrantz …” is due, first of all, to
the combination in the play of three art systems – classical (Shakespearian),
absurdist (Beckett) and postmodern (actually Stoppard).