The Intertextual and the Theatrical in Postmodern Drama: A Case Study of Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

Document Type : Original Article


English Literature Department, Islamic Azad University Central Tehran Branch, Tehran


The present study addresses one of the most recently debated areas in postmodern literature and art, the revival of interest in theatricality. The researcher aims to introduce a few strategies which are used to turn the intertextual elements and the pastiche into working tools for creating theatricality. In order to do so, Thomas Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (1967) which was later made into a movie version as well, directed by Stoppard himself, is examined. The study tries to show how theatricality can affect the performance as well as the contribution of the spectators to the dramatic text and performance. The shared experience of the pastiche made based on Hamlet by William Shakespeare, can contribute to the understanding of how theatricality can work when intertextuality is a powerful and positive force. The sample scenes chosen here are concluded to be the examples of how the illusion of having a stable identity is what not only the characters, the players or the author just assume to exist, but also what the text deliberately and constantly recreates. The playful nature of theatricality highlights the way each of these contributors willingly dupe themselves for the show to go on.


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