What is the major dramatic question in "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead"? What question has been pursued throughout the play is answered in the moment of climax?

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jeff-hauge's profile pic

jeff-hauge | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

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The relationship between the audience and the players is also investigated. I believe that Stoppard is focusing on both the role of fate but also the problem of art. The artist/player/playwright is forever looking to provoke the audience into thought. The audience is not just a stakeholder in the value of the art but perhaps creates the restrictions of the capacity of art to move them. The quote, “The audience knows what to expect and that is all they are prepared to believe,” demonstrates the box the artist is in. Stoppard is confronting the restrictions of art by placing the responsibility on the audience. The moment would be greater, the lesson larger, the art more deeply moving if the audience would budge more. The power of plays is described in “The Mouse Trap” within “Hamlet”. “The play IS the thing…”

Art that merely entertains and gives the audience what it desires is no more than a prolonged tickle. Stoppard\'s describes the actors as prostitutes to make this point.

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janeyb | (Level 2) Associate Educator

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I would say that Fate is the dramatic question if Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead, and it is that question that follows and leads the story. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern have to die. They die in Hamlet, and for the story to make any sense, the have to die in Stoppards play as well. Even though they, and Stoppard as well, try to avoid their deaths, the audience is aware that it is going to happen. It has to, it is fate. And when the Player says in their dress rehearsal for The Murder of Gonzago that "everyone who is marked for death dies," Guildenstern asks, "Who decides?" and the Player responds, "Decides? It is written.''

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nedsneebly's profile pic

nedsneebly | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 2) eNoter

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To reply to the other answer, fate is not the premise of the play, the premise is that we choose are own fate, at the end Rosencrantz says, " there was a point, where we could of said no, but I don't remember..." .The point is Hamlet asks three times, were you sent for? They avoid it and then they finally confess that they were sent for. They loose Hamlet's trust right then. Then when their on the boat they could of told Hamlet that he was being sent to England to be killed, but they didn't. In the end they decided their own fate by being " neutral to their will and matter." 

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