Hamlet, the prince of Denmark is a play by William Shakespeare set in the Kingdom of Denmark. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are friends to the protagonist in the play. Hamlet is a son to the former King and a nephew to the current King Claudius (Hamlet.2.2.84) These two characters seem indispensable throughout and serve as informants of Claudius. King Claudius wanted to understand the changed behavior of his nephew was in grief after learning how his father, King Hamlet died.
In the play, they fit in as first hand spies of the King because of their childhood friendship with Hamlet. In fact, he refers to them as his two schoolfellows. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern display sycophancy, as they appear to struggle to gain Claudius’ confidence by posing as Hamlets childhood friends hence are better placed to get information from him.
They accept to work with Claudius on this matter in spite of them knowing his intentions. He introduces them as excellent good friends. This is complemented by their show of ignorance when they accompany Hamlet to England after he killed Polonius. On this trip, they carry a letter whose content they are not aware. This is what leads to their death.
Their sycophancy backfires as Hamlet rejects their friendship when he tells them that they are spies (Hamlet.3.2.176) Furthermore, he manages to get the letter from them and rewrites it reversing the original content. Pirates kill them after being abandoned by Hamlet (Hamlet 5.2.353) Hamlet even remarks that their death is because of their conspiracy. They are also used in the plot to perpetuate corruption in the courts by accepting to be paid as agents to work with Claudia.
Shakespeare, W. (1993) Hamlet, the prince of Denmark. London: Sterling signature Publishers.