Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is a play by Tom Stoppard about Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, two minor characters in Shakespeare's Hamlet, who are somewhat interchangeable and provide comic relief. With the events of Hamlet as the backdrop, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern bumble about, unable to make any real sense of the world around them. In the end, they are sent to England with Hamlet, who, as in the play Hamlet, tricks the King to kill Rosencrantz and Guildenstern rather than himself.
"The Dead" is a short story by James Joyce, the last story featured in his collection of short stories, Dubliners. The story takes place during a snowy evening at a party held at the Morkan sisters'. Gabriel and his wife Gretta attend and return home. Before going to bed, Gretta reveals to Gabriel that the song "The Lass of Aughrim," sung at the party, reminded her of her young love, Michael Furey, who died years ago. Gabriel goes to bed pondering themes of love, death and alienation.