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This is a "Wild Mass Guess" entry, where we pull out all the sanity stops on theorizing. The regular entry on this topic is elsewhere. Please see this programme note.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead
The Player is a Dark Messiah for a belief that the world is a stage.
And he is proved right.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern came Back from the Dead offscreen.
They met Death and challenged him to a coin toss.
  • Hehe, Fridge Brilliance.
  • The problem is that Death always calls for heads.
  • But didn't the coin eventually start turning tails repeatedly towards the end of the play?
  • The real problem is that the coin toss goes whatever way would be convenient either to advance the plot or set up a gag, and Guildenstern noticing this is a symptom of being overtly aware of his surroundings. Now, we know for a fact that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern die, and the text overtly implies that each time this happens Hamlet merely begins again. Therefore, even assuming they got close to an afterlife in their brief time in-between the peal of ordnance getting shot off and Bernardo entering, the coin toss is going to fail.
    • No, that's the worst part. They win, resulting in Hamlet starting over once again.

The player is Shakespeare.
This is highly believable, because:
  • He is the leader of a theater troupe.
  • His plays can have rhetoric, love, or blood. The love and rhetoric may or may not be in there, but there MUST be blood (and someone dies in just about every Shakespeare play).
  • Polonius mentions (in the original play) that he played the title role in "Julius Caesar", another Shakespeare play, making Shakespeare canonical in this world.
  • He and his troupe know how "Hamlet" ends, unlike most other characters.
  • He also talks about how all the world's a stage, which is a reference to Shakespeare's play "As You Like It" (the exact quote being "The whole world's a stage, and all men and women merely players").
  • He understands that this is a play, and so makes no matter of anything, including his own faked death.
  • Finally, he is very genre-savvy, knowing the Guildenstern's (or was it Rosencrantz's?) sword was fake, a theater prop.
The Ring of the NibelungWMG/TheaterTachyon Drift

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