Tom Stoppard Essay

Tom StoppardTom Stoppard is one of the twentieth century’s most interesting and creative playwrights. He uses his art form to criticize society’s inability to handle the thought that we are governed by chaos. The modern world has created fate as an excuse for not doing anything to shape or change our outcome. Stoppard uses his plays as a mirror held up to society, showing his audience the ridiculousness of leaving everything up to fate.Tom Stoppard is a contemporary playwright living in Great Britain. He was born in 1937 and produced his first successful play, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead in 1966. His more recent works include Travesties and Arcadia. The setting for these three plays are vastly different; Rosencrantz and Guildenstern taking place at the time of Shakespeare, Travesties set during World War I and Arcadia taking place in 1809 and the present day. Yet, in all three settings, Stoppard created modern characters to reflect modern attitudes, and most specifically, modern flaws. In each case he shows that the characters representing modern men will readily believe that their future cannot be changed and that they are not responsible for their own acts. He uses different characters in vastly different circumstances to make and criticize this same point.In Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Stoppard cleverly removes the characters of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern from the play of Hamlet, extends Shakespeare’s caricatures of them and makes them modern. The play is now about how Rosencrantz and Guildenstern present the viewer with an image of modern attitudes. They never perceive any kind of order in the universe. To them everything is completely random. On the other hand, the Player represents t…

…s able to create clear differences in attitude between the 1809 cast and the present day cast. In this way he was able to hold up his societal mirror to the audience in two different ways. First, in the differences between the 1809 cast and the modern-day cast and second through the ways in which the characters of the modern-day cast epitomized modern attitudes. The prime examples of this are the differences between Thomasina and Valentine and the ways in which Valentine’s lack of patience and his willingness to give up on trying to find the patterns in the chaos of nature reflects society’s inability to deal with chaos.Bibliography:Stoppard, Tom., Arcadia, New York, Samuel French, Inc.,1993.

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Stoppard, Tom., Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, New York, Samuel French, Inc., 1967.

Stoppard, Tom., Travesties, New York, Grove Press, 1975.

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