To be or not to be, that is the question.
We all remember that famous line from Shakespeare's Hamlet, that play of all plays. Was Hamlet really being told what to do by his dead father, or was he really insane after all? Did his mother know what was going on? Did his uncle really murder his father? Were Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Hamlet's friends from childhood, as funny and brilliant as they seemed?
Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead. Hamlet from a different point of view. A play within a play, within a play! Two minor characters bewildered and apparently unable to accept their present condition are brought to life in such a way that I thought of Deep Thoughts on SNL and laughed out loud more than once. It was genius. It was thought-provoking, and as you see from my book - full of such excellent word play between the two characters that I should now buy stock in sticky notes.
A sample -
Inside where nothing shows, I am the essence of a man spinning double-headed coins, and betting against himself in private atonement for an unremembered past.
We cross our bridges when we come to them and burn them behind us, with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke, and a presumption that once our eyes watered.
This clip from the movie is one of the best parts of many.
This play is an easier, and much, much shorter way, to view the struggles in Hamlet. It almost explains why it ended like it did - with a cornucopia of death.
We're tragedians, you see. We follow directions - there is no choice involved. The bad end unhappily, the good unluckily. That is what tragedy means.
I highly recommend reading this, and then watching the movie. You will never look upon Shakespeare's most famous play the same again.
Thanks to the Good Books Club for recommending it.