Rosencrantz on Life and Death in a Box

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are DeadDo you ever think of yourself as actually dead, lying in a box with a lid on it? … 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 you were 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 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! In a minute someone’s going to bang on the lid and tell me to come out. “Hey you, whatsyername! Come out of there!” … 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?

—Tom Stoppard
Rosencrantz in Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead

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