Date of Award

6-1991

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English

Abstract

This thesis project discusses Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead as an example of postmodern drama. It further examines the style of the authorship, often likened to Samuel Beckett and Harold Pinter, and in this examination seeks to define and discuss postmodernist theater. As part of the study, a working definition of postmodernism, its history, proposed tenets, and leading critical theories are analyzed. Meyer states, “A literary movement so new and controversial among critics and academics as postmodernism is, requires thorough investigation, definition, and exemplification.” Chapter Two establishes the definition for postmodernist theater, which is used as the basis for the discussion of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead in subsequent chapters. More specifically, Chapter Three examines the deconstruction and subversion of hierarchical orders regarding characters from Hamlet as well as the hierarchy of authorship regarding Shakespeare and Stoppard. And finally, the author discusses postmodern linguistic features in the play, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, particularly the function of word games and language as postmodernism, for discussion of Stoppard's plays.

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