W. S. Gilbert  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are fictional characters, a pair of courtiers appearing in William Shakespeare's tragedy Hamlet. They are also major characters in Tom Stoppard's play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead and W. S. Gilbert's play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were common Danish family names of the 16th century; records of the Danish royal coronation of 1596 show that one tenth of the aristocrats participating bore the one or the other name.

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