The play “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead” represents chaos and it can be seen in characters, scenes and the stage itself. The play shows how cruel and unfair life can be to those who try their best but fail, hurting themselves in the process.
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Through emotion, absurdity and inability to change anything, “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead” achieves the necessary empathy to make its audience care about the fate of its protagonists, and thereby enables the audience to apply what they may have learned from the experience of the play to their own lives.
One of the truths and connections to reality where people learn about empathy is by experiencing character’s pain in the play. From the very beginning, the viewer is emerged into the disturbed understanding of the surroundings. Even without knowing why an observer feels this way, it is clear that something is very wrong.
The sickly look of characters, sharp and weak movements and dramatic speech, portray martyrs without real self knowledge. The drama and pain filled with self-pity and lack of value for the self are common in every scene. At some points, the characters’ behavior seems naturalistic and this is another truth, as people treat the world seriously, but relate to it as a game.
The audience realizes the tragedy that is about to happen but at the same time, it is clear that they will not take a step back and will go until the end. It is ironic that all the time they are fighting against the authority, power of life and higher forces, they are actually fulfilling their destiny and do exactly what they should have avoided.
Again, this is aligned with people’s struggles between own wants and authority of the government and laws. This is a life lesson because by the end, some people stay just as blind. This becomes extremely empathetic because they seem to have the need to change, but are so caught up in own inabilities that nothing can be changed (Stoppard, 2007).
The audience is given a lesson of “knowing better” the next time. This is pointed out in a specific way, as to show that sometimes the things that a person does are not truly the way they need to be done.
When someone believes that they are acting in the best possible way and are fighting for the goodness and kindness of life and other people, they could become the victim of own actions by making things worse. This is a paradox because it is a known fact that very often, people try to do better and help others but it turns out to be even worse, and the help that was provided becomes detrimental in the end.
From one perspective, the play shows empathy the best, as the immersion of characters in their roles makes it very believable, and even the humor and sarcasm found reflection in true feelings of pain, suffering and darkness of life. The setting, mystery and expressions, all added to the chaotic atmosphere of life, and the fact how pointless and senseless it can be.
At some points, the play seemed very theatrical, but these moments were momentous and purposeful. But, reading the play adds a personal experience because the reader can place themselves in the characters’ shoes. Everything that is imagined is done by the mind of the reader, so it is as if the play receives an extension of the person’s mind. The voices, the settings and the pain are imagined however they are taken from the inner world of the person who is reading (Matter, 2007).
There is a definite connection between the characters and the audience, as people are able to relate to the pain and confusion of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. This makes the viewers or readers empathetic towards them, but also people in real life.
Matter, K. (2007). Analysis of ‘Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead’. Norderstedt, Germany: GRIN Verlag.
Stoppard, T. (2007). Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. New York, NY: Grove Press.