Teacher Guide

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead Lesson Plan

Introduction to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

Inspired by a conversation with his agent, Kenneth Ewing, and funded by a Ford Foundation grant, Tom Stoppard wrote Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Meet King Lear, a one-act play. Stoppard soon rewrote the script, eliminating the King Lear plot and focusing on earlier events in Elsinore. Although he had originally written in verse, Stoppard transformed his lines into prose in order to contrast with Shakespeare's text, and lengthened the play into three acts, ultimately titling it Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. The play, first staged by an amateur troupe at the Edinburgh Festival in 1966, was taken up a year later by the National Theater. The play was an immediate critical success,...

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