ERIC Number: ED155751
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1978-Apr
Camus' Actor as Tom Stoppard's Player; A Key to Interpreting "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead."
An examination of Albert Camus' definition of the actor in "The Myth on Sisyphus" helps to illuminate the character and role of The Player in Tom Stoppard's play and, hence, to bring light to an understanding of the philosophy of the play itself. The actor, for Camus, reveals our mortality in the face of the absurdity of our mortality, but also our potentiality and our liberty to act and establish meaning in the face of inherent meaninglessness. Stoppard's character The Player sees his role as does Camus. He shows death, the necessary truth. He requires an audience for his existence. He communicates life's normal state of uncertainty: that it is useless to seek revelation, but that the actor must nevertheless take action, not always questioning what went wrong, but acting on assumptions. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are the play's anti-heroes because they have never acted in any sense, remaining caught up in the external control of others. Still unwilling to accept the fact that there are no explanations for life or for their situations, they exemplify the opposite of Camus' assessment of Hamlet as representing "the human revolt against the irremedial." They choose to follow orders, preferring "life in a box" to the taking up of Sisyphus'"rock" of uncertain, personal action. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern speak by omission to Stoppard's point of view; it is The Player who is afforded the overt task. (DS)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A