By Bertolt Brecht, Elisabeth Hauptmann, Ralph Mannheim, John Willett
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What the death of man in Stoppard’s theater suggests is the death of our subjected-ness and a rebirth of the memory of consciousness, as opposed to consciousness itself— which in Eastern thought is beyond space/time and thus beyond death and (re)birth. Feeling desperate, Guil snatches the Player's dagger and stabs him in the throat, for the first time taking action into his own hands. But agency must have a purpose beyond physical change. After dying convincingly, the Player gets up and brushes himself off to the applause of his fellow players, with the dumb show of death transforming the tragedy into a comedy.
As postcolonial writers have shown, the possibility does exist for an “historyless” world (Ashcroft et al 2002, 33)—a world experienced in trans-political, trans-historical terms. We are certainly all subjected to cultural as well as trans-cultural influences, most of which are beyond our control. As Sammells says, “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern fight to preserve the distinction between actor and agent, to hang on to the short-lived sense of purpose that will give their actions meaning” (2001, 110).
Intersubjectivity in Stoppard's Theater 29 As the first act draws to a close, Ros and Guil increasingly enter a space beyond logic, memory and meaning. ” Ros responds, “Foul! No Rhetoric. Two-one” (34). ” (35), which of course has no answer in terms of social appellation. Ros: It's all questions. Guil: Do you think it matters? Ros: Doesn't it matter to you? Guil: Why should it matter? Ros: What does it matter why? (35-36) The matter of the play is the play itself, just as the matter of the mirror is the mirror itself, and the matter of awareness is awareness itself, not its content.