Article Title

"Wheels within wheels, etcetera": Artistic Design in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead


In lieu of an abstract, the first paragraph of the essay follows:

Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead ought to cause us to acknowledge some inadequacies in the vocabulary we currently use to discuss plays, and the nature of our shortcoming can be demonstrated, I think, with some representative summaries of Stoppard's art. Ruby Cohn, for example, suggests that Stoppard proved "extremely skillfull in dovetailing the Hamlet scenes into the Godot situation": Ronald Hayman writes that "Stoppard appeared at the right moment with his beautifully engineered device for propelling two attendant lords into the foreground": Charles Marowitz comments that "Stoppard displays a remarkable skill in juggling the donnees of existential philosophy"; and Thomas Whitaker argues that "the raisonneur of this clever pastiche is of course The Player...[who] knowingly plays himself."1

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