Rosencrantz and guildenstern are dead pdf
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead
Two ELIZABETHANS passing time in a place without any visible character. They are well-dressed – hats, cloaks,
sticks and all. Each of them has a large leather money bag. Guildenstern’s bag is nearly empty. Rosencrantz’s bag
is nearly full. The reason being: they are betting on the toss of a coin, in the following manner: Guildenstern
(hereafter ‘GUIL’) takes a coin out of his bag, spins it, letting it fall. Rosencrantz (hereafter ‘ROS’) studies it,
announces it as “heads” (as it happens) and puts it into his own bag. Then they repeat the process. They have
apparently been doing it for some time. The run of “heads” is impossible, yet ROS betrays no surprise at all –
he feels none. However he is nice enough to feel a little embarrassed attaking so much money off his friend. Let
that be his character note. GUIL is well alive to the oddity of it. He is not worried about the money, but he is
worried by the implications ; aware but not going to panic about it – his character note.
GUIL sits. ROS stands (he does the moving, retrieving coins).
GUIL spins. ROS studies coin.
(He picks it up and puts it in his money bag. The process is repeated.)
GUIL (flipping a coin): There is an art to the building up of suspense.
GUIL (flipping another): Though it can be done by luck alone.
GUIL: If that’s the word I’m after.
ROS (raises his head at GUIL): Seventy-six love.
(GUIL gets up but has nowhere to go. He spins another coin over his shoulder without looking at it, his
attention being directed at his environment or lack of it.)
GUIL: A weaker man might be moved to re-examine his faith, if in nothing else at least in the law of
(He slips a coin over his shoulder as he goes to look upstage.)
(GUIL, examining the confines of the stage, flips over two more coins, as he does so, one by one of course. ROS
announces each of them as “heads”.)
GUIL (musing): The law of probability, as it has been oddly asserted, is something to do with the proposition
that if six monkeys (he has surprised himself)… if six monkeys were…
GUIL: Were they?
ROS: Are you?
GUIL (understanding): Games. (Flips a coin.) The law of averages, if I have got this right, means that if six
monkeys were thrown up in the air for long enough they would land on their tails about as often as they would land
on their –
ROS: Heads. (He picks up the coin.)
GUIL: Which at first glance does not strike one as a particularly rewarding speculation, in either sense, even
without the monkeys. I mean you wouldn’t bet on it. I mean I would, but you wouldn’t… (As he flips a coin.)
GUIL: Would you? (Flips a coin.)
Heads. (He looks up at GUIL – embarrassed laugh.) Getting a bit of a bore, isn’t it?
GUIL (coldly): A bore?
GUIL: What about suspense?
ROS (innocently): What suspense?
GUIL: It must be the law of diminishing returns… I feel the spell about to be broken. (Energising himself
(He takes out a coin, spins it high, catches it, turns it over on to the back of his other hand, studies the coin –
and tosses it to ROS. His energy deflates and he sits.)
Well, it was a even chance… if my calculations are correct.
ROS: Eighty-five in a row – beaten the record!
GUIL: Don’t be absurd.
GUIL (angry): Is the it, then? Is that all?
GUIL: A new record? Is that as far as you prepared to go?
GUIL: No questions? Not even a pause?
ROS: You spun it yourself.
GUIL: Not a flicker of doubt?
ROS (aggrieved, aggressive): Well, I won – didn’t I?