Lotfi Salhi


William Shakespeare’s Hamlet‚ or the Mona Lisa of literature as T. S. Eliot calls it‚ has constantly been the subject of continuous mythologizing and adaptation in a variety of historical and cultural contexts. Adaptation generally deals with the way source texts are transformed from one genre or medium into another for a particular purpose. The adapted text often changes in meaning and is both at home and at odds with its originals. As an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead takes Shakespeare’s tragedy to out there, far beyond Elizabethan contexts and fits it into new times and different places. In his play, Stoppard employs a number of tactics and does everything possible to do away with Shakespeare’s characters, language and staging in order to reflect the situation of the world in 1960s. This article demonstrates the view that Stoppard’s engagement with Shakespeare displays the prominent use of, among a myriad of other tools, the motifs of irony and allegory and displacement and replacement as the "discursive strategies", in Hutcheon’s words, he employs to address critical issues.


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displacement, replacement, revision, irony, post-modernism, discourse

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A. Primary Resources:

Shakespeare, W. Hamlet. The First Folio, 1623.

Stoppard, T. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, London: Boston, 1967.

B. Secondary Resources:

Aristotle. The Poetics. Penguin Classics, 1996.

Baudrillard, Jean. Simulacra and Simulation. University of Michigan: University of Michigan Press, 1994.

Buse, Peter. Drama Plus Theory: Critical Approaches to Modern British Drama. London, UK, 2001.

Cohn, Ruby. Modern Shakespeare Offshoots, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1976.

Drakakis, John. Alternative Shakespeares. New York: Mthuen, 1985.

Franke, Helene Kayssar. “The Strategy of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead” Educational Theatre Journal, 1975

Hutcheon, Linda. A Theory of Parody: The Teachings of Twentieth Century Art Forms, New York and London: Methuen, 1985.

--------------. The Theory and Politics of Irony, London and New York: Routledge, 1995.

--------------. Irony’s Edge: The Theory and Politics of Irony. London and New York: Routledge, 1995.

Lyotard, Jean Francois. The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge. Manchester University Press, 1984

Steiner, George. The Death of tragedy. Oxford, Oxford University press, 1980.


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