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“Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead”: Deleted Scene

March 24, 2011

If you have ever read (or watched) the play, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, then you know what I mean when I say that there seems to be a scene missing at the end of the play. There is a large gap between when Rosencrantz and Guildenstern finish their conversation on the ship and when suddenly everyone in the Denmark castle is dead (the last scene in Hamlet).
Well I recently had to write what my thought was on this “missing” scene in the play. Even if you have not read or seen this play, you may still be able to enjoy it…

The ship pulls into the England harbor. Slight damages on the mast and deck from the pirates show how long and symbolic the trip from Denmark was. Pirates killed Hamlet in his attempt to look heroic. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern now realize that they are to be sentenced to death by the English king upon arrival. Their biggest problem at the present moment is how to go about this dreadful news.

Do they take the letter to the king as they were ordered to do? Knowing that it will lead to their deaths. Do they flee? Knowing that it will label them as cowards.

“We cannot just stay on the ship! It will take us back to Denmark, where the King has ordered our execution,” says Guildenstern.

“But I don’t want to get off the ship,” responds Rosencrantz with an edge of fear in his voice.

“We shall depart the ship and resolve on what to do afterwards,” says Guildenstern with impatience.

Once departed from the ship, instead of walking to the castle, they start walking to a busy area of town where they can blend into the crowd. Carts and horses are busily trampling through the streets. People are loud and occupied with their loading and unloading. Their selling and trading. Their conversing and arguing. There is a gray overcast in the sky that reflects off the gray buildings, making it all a very depressing sight, which reflects Rosencrantz and Guildenstern’s emotions at the present. Once they have found a spot where they think they blend into the craziness of the crowd, they start to converse about what they will do with the letter. Standing on the sidewalk next to a busy intersection of horses, carts, and vendors, Rosencrantz buys an apple and nonchalantly leans on the side of the building with one foot cocked and starts chewing on the apple.

“I must say, this is a delectable apple. I wonder where it was picked…”

“There are larger topics to discuss at hand,” says Guildenstern.

“But the delightfulness of the apple…” responds Rosencrantz, “Well, it is much more enjoyable to speak of than the dreadful topic you are referring to.”

“Well, dear friend, in case you haven’t noticed, the dreadful topic is much…much more important to talk about than the enjoyable topic. Because, you see, this unfortunate topic refers to whether or not we shall make it through this day alive.”

“Well have you ever thought that perhaps death is like… like… this apple! Sweet, succulent… enjoyable! Perhaps it is not as you described it before, old friend. Maybe it is not the ending of all things, after all! So! I say that we talk about the apple and how enjoyable it is,” says Rosencrantz with lightness in his tone.

“I beg of you. Refrain from talking any more about the apple.”

“Maybe if you had an apple for yourself, you could see exactly what I’m talking about. It would make this enjoyable conversation easier for both of us, simply because then you would know what I speak of when I say that this apple is…”

“Delightful! I know!” exclaims Guildenstern.

“No need to raise your tone dear friend. What is this news you speak of?”

“Do you not remember? Well, come to think of it, I too am now having trouble remembering.” says Guildenstern with incredulity.

“Well I remember something of a letter…” replies Rosencrantz.

“Yes! A letter. Was it you or I that that held it?”

Rosencrantz pats his pockets, “Well it is not I that holds the letter.”

Guildenstern then pulls the letter from his pocket. “Oh yes! I remember now, this letter orders our execution. I knew it was something important.”

“Well that is such dreadful news,” says Rosencrantz. Bites into the apple again.

“We have two options: we can flee into the countryside or another city and avoid the king altogether or we can deliver the letter to the king ourselves. The former would label us forever as cowards, plus they could come looking for us, which means we would be on the run for the remainder of our lives. The latter would label us as bold heroes who face our fate no matter the situation.”

No comment from Rosencrantz, bites into the apple again.

“If we take the letter to the king, we are practically committing the act of suicide! But, we are men who do as we are told. Even if that makes us fools. But it also makes us loyal and trustworthy. But, it is truly not worth my reputation to die. I say we flee. Yes! Flee, I am not cowardly if I am saving my life and harming no one else’s. We shall find a place to stay for the night, then we will depart first thing tomorrow morning. We will go to a desolate countryside village were we can live in peace for the time being.” Guildenstern goes about planning their escape from the city, “We could hop on a cart before the sun rises and take that to…”

“Oh. My apple is gone…” says Rosencrantz with a disappointment.

Guildenstern goes from a relaxed, thoughtful position to jumping up and pacing, “Have you not been listening this whole time?” he exclaims with anger.

“Well…”

“I am only talking about our lives. It’s not like it’s very important anyway! You know what?” Guildenstern is somewhat furious now and pacing back and forth.

“Calm down, friend. You are causing a scene,” advises Rosencrantz.

“Oh, NOW you are worried about things?” Guildenstern starts backing away from Rosencrantz with his arms spread wide with sarcastic disbelief.

“Wait, stop,” warns Rosencrantz.

“Before you were more concerned with the juiciness of your apple than you were with your life. But now you are worried about causing a scene?” Guildenstern is still backing away from Rosencrantz.

Rosencrantz suddenly reaches for Guildenstern and grabs a hold of his shirt. Guildenstern suddenly trips on the edge of the sidewalk and starts falling into the street filled with trampling horses barging through the intersection. Rosencrantz tightens his hold on Guildenstern’s shirt and starts to pull him back to the sidewalk. As he is helping his friend back, a group of playing children run by and bumps into Rosencrantz. He suddenly loses his footing on the edge of the sidewalk. Both Rosencrantz and Guildenstern tumble into the intersection. Discombobulated they look around and see that there are horses coming from all sides. Both friends are trampled and killed together. Lying in the middle of the road. The two friends lay side by side, there is an apple core in one of Rosencrantz’ hands and a letter of importance in Guildenstern’s.

The people on the street stop and stare at the scene, and when a young man from the King’s court runs to see if the two strangers are okay, he sees the letter. Then immediately delivers it to the King himself. The King of England then sends two ambassadors to Denmark to deliver the news that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead.

Once in Denmark, an Ambassador speaks to Horatio at the gruesome scene in which the King, Queen, Laertes, and Hamlet are all dead.

“The sight is dismal; and our affairs from England come to late. The ears are senseless that should give us hearing to tell him his commandment is fulfilled, that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead.”

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One Comment leave one →
  1. March 25, 2011 4:36 am

    love this! very interesting read- nice!!

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