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Tom Stoppard’s “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead” Quotes (21 Quotes)


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  • There we were - demented children mincing about in clothes that no one ever wore, speaking as no man ever spoke, swearing love in wigs and rhymed couplets, killing each other with wooden swords, hollow protestations of faith hurled after empty promises of vengeance - and every gesture, every pose, vanishing into the thin unpopulated air. We ransomed our dignity to the clouds, and the uncomprehending birds listened. Don't you see?! We're actors - we're the opposite of people!
    (Tom Stoppard, "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead")

  • Traitors hoist by their own petard?--or victims of the gods?--we shall never know!
    (Tom Stoppard, "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead")

  • A Chinaman of the T'ang Dynasty-and, by which definition, a philosopher-dreamed he was a butterfly, and from that moment he was never quite sure that he was not a butterfly dreaming it was a Chinese philosopher. Envy him; in his two-fold security.
    (Tom Stoppard, "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead")

  • We must be born with an intuition of mortality. Before we know the word for it. Before we know that there are words. Out we come, bloodied and squalling, with the knowledge that for all the points of the compass, there's only one direction. And time is its only measure.
    (Tom Stoppard, "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead")

  • Audiences know what to expect, and that is all that they are prepared to believe in.
    (Tom Stoppard, "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead")


  • We're more of the love, blood, and rhetoric school. Well, we can do you blood and love without the rhetoric, and we can do you blood and rhetoric without the love, and we can do you all three concurrent or consecutive. But we can't give you love and rhetoric without the blood. Blood is compulsory. They're all blood, you see.
    (Tom Stoppard, "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead")


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