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Rosencrantz and Guildenstern vs. Godot

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Introduction

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern vs. Godot Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead and Beckett's Waiting for Godot are two plays with very similar pairs of characters. The reason for this great similarity is because Stoppard based his pair of characters on that of Beckett. In each set of characters, there is one member who represents the physical part of the pair and the other member represents the philosophical or psychological part. In addition, both pairs of characters seem to strive off of their companion, but in each case there is one partner who needs the other more. In the case of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, it is Rosencrantz who needs the assistance of Guildenstern; in the case of Vladimir (Didi) and Estragon (Gogo), it is Gogo who needs Didi's companionship more. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern share a common companionship. They appear to be childhood friends who have grown up together, but they have no recollection of their past. ...read more.

Middle

Both Didi and Gogo also have an apparent memory problem. They can not remember whether they were in a certain place the previous day. Gogo is the physical part of this pair. He has an impairment with his feet; an inflammation of some sort. He has trouble taking off his boots therefore giving him smelly feet. Gogo has extremely bad memory and has trouble remembering what they are doing until Didi reminds him that they are "Waiting for Godot". Didi is the psychological aspect of this pair. He is always seen removing his hat and looking in it as if he is looking for his mind. He has trouble urinating which could be due to a kidney infection or most likely syphilis. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are very friendly to and respectful of each other. Though they yell at each other occasionally, it is out of love and in the end, they end up embracing and making up. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is much more of an extreme than Didi and Gogo. Though Gogo is strongly dependant on the actions and thoughts of Didi, it is not to the point of not functioning. Gogo needs Didi to remind him of why he is where he is. Without Didi, Gogo would not have an identity or sense of direction. These two pairs of characters though very similar do share their differences; however, there vast similarity is due to Stoppard's use of Beckett's play in developing his own. The similarities between the plays goes even further when looking at the games that were played between the characters and the minor characters, such as the Player, Pozzo and Lucky, who accentuated certain characteristics of each character. Both of these plays also shares the common theme of fate vs. free will. Do we control our own fate or is there some superior being that has already laid out a plan that we are all just absentmindedly following? ...read more.

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