Ideology Behind Rosencrantz and Guildenstern

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How does Stoppard's Transformation of Hamlet reveal a shift in ideology? Stoppard's transformation of Shakespeare's Hamlet shifts in values and world-view from the original. These changes are a result of the change in context between the two texts. The Elizabethan world-view was that of an ordered universe, where reality could be expressed through language and known law/logic was applicable. On the other hand, Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead reflects a more contemporary ideology, where the universe is inexplicable and the audience has no sense of certainty. According to this world-view, language is a confused expression of reality and there is no such thing as a logical existence. It is this difference in context between the two plays that contributes to its changed ideology. Language serves as the fount of meaning in Hamlet. This is apparent in the confrontational dialogue between Hamlet and Gertrude: Gertrude: “Hamlet, thou hast thy father much offended.” Hamlet: “Mother, you have my father much offended.” Gertrude: “Come, come you answer with an idle tongue.” Hamlet: “Go, go, you question with a wicked tongue.” Here, Hamlet is mocking the rhythm and words of Gertrude's reproaches. By echoing the rhythmic structure of Gertrude's language, Hamlet manages to turn the finger of accusation from his own behavior to his mother's, thus seizing control of the confrontation through his use of language. Hamlet's reaction to Ophelia further demonstrates this point. The sounds of his words on immediately seeing her "soft...nymph...orisons..." suggest a gentle feeling towards her. Once Ophelia speaks in the forced, formal tone advised by her father, however, Hamlet appears frustrated that her impersonal language should block any proper communication between them, saying "Are you honest?...can it be you speaking in so empty a manner?" This reflects the
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