Rosencranz and Guildenstern

BY Tom Stoppard

Do you ever think of yourself as actually dead lying in a box with a lid on it?  Nor do I, really. It’s silly to be depressed by it.  I mean one thinks of it like being alive in a box, one keeps forgetting to take into account the fact that one is dead. which should make all the difference. shouldn’t it?  I mean, you’d never know you were in a box, would you?  It would be  just like being asleep in a box.  Not that I’d like to sleep in a box, mind you, not without any air-you’d wake up dead, for a start, and then where would you be?  Apart from inside a box.  That’s the bit I don’t like,  frankly.  That’s why I don’t think of it. Because you’d be helpless, wouldn’t you?  Stuffed in a box like that, I mean you’d be in there forever.   Even taking into account the fact that you’re dead, it isn’t a pleasant thought.  Especially if you’re dead, really. ask yourself, if I asked you straight off-I’m going to stuff you in this box now, would you rather be  alive or dead?  Naturally, you’d prefer to be alive.  Life in a box is better than no life at all.  I expect.  You’d have a chance at least.  You could lie there thinking-well, at least I’m not dead!  I wouldn’t think about it, if I were you.  You’d only get depressed.  Eternity is a terrible thought.  I mean, where’s it going to end?  We count for nothing.  We have no control.  None at all. Whatever became of the moment when one first knew about death?  There must have been one, a moment, in childhood when it first occurred to you that you don’t go on forever.  It must have been shattering-stamped into one’s memory.  And yet I can’t remember it.  It never occurred to me at all.  What does one make of that?  We must be born with an intuition of mortality.  Before we know the words for it, before we know that there are words, out we come, bloodied and squalling with the knowledge that for all the compasses in the world, there’s only one direction, and time is its only measure.  Death followed by eternity. the worst of both worlds.  It’s a terrible thought

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