All posts tagged: Guildenstern Are Dead.Stoppard’s story

The Irrelevance of the Republican Debate

The Irrelevance of the Republican Debate

In their first presidential debate last night, Republicans staged their own version of Tom Stoppard’s classic play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. Stoppard’s story focuses on the titular two characters, who are minor figures in Hamlet. The playwright recounts the Hamlet story from their peripheral perspective, as Rosencrantz and Guildenstern wait and wander, distant from the real action. For much of the play’s three acts, they strain for even glimpses of the man at the center of the tale, Prince Hamlet. The eight GOP candidates onstage last night often seemed like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, with their words largely stripped of meaning by the absence of the central protagonist in their drama. The debate had plenty of heat, flashes of genuine anger, and revealing policy disputes. Former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, who has often seemed a secondary player in this race, delivered a forceful performance—particularly in rebutting the entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy on policy toward Ukraine—that made her the most vivid figure onstage to many Republicans. But all that sound and fury fundamentally lacked relevance to the …