Character Analysis of the Player in "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead" written by Tom Stoppard

Essay by coasterphilHigh School, 10th gradeA+, October 2006

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Tom Stoppard's play, "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead", includes many different viewpoints on life and its meaning. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern struggle to find reasoning behind their actions. The character most in tune with the realities of the world and of life is the Player. He is comfortable with his position and knows what is expected of him.

The Player is a very cynical man. He and the rest of the players have come upon hard times due to society's interest in child acts. They have to result to pornography to make money. There is no shame in his actions; he recognizes that he cannot change his fortunes and that it is best to simply live by whatever means necessary. That feeling is almost a polar opposite of that of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. They constantly question their actions in hope of trying to find some sort of reason for their being.

They are not content with their duties. The Player spends much of the play trying to help keep Rosencrantz and Guildenstern from overanalyzing things. He tells them early on to "Relax. Respond. That's what people do. You can't go through life questioning your situation at every turn" (Stoppard II. 66). The Player acts almost as a foil to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern's characters because of his ability to adapt to situations without questioning them.

The Player knows that he is an actor, and as a result, is always on stage. He also realizes that actors only exist if there is an audience to witness their actions. This explains why he is so upset when Rosencrantz and Guildenstern leave him and his troupe on the road. He says that he and his men have ". . . pledged our identities, secure in the conventions of our trade, that...