What is reality like, what is real? Is it what we perceive with our senses, is it created in our minds or it stands outside of us, outside of our subjectivity and we have no access to it? How can we learn about reality, is it possible at all? How is the world we live in? Who are we? These are universal questions, essential for human existence, that occupy the minds of all eras since the dawn of the mankind. Myths, philosophies, worldviews try to answer and explain them, some are more and some are less successful that might be possibly measured by the influence they have on the civilization at a certain historical point when developed and promoted leading to the establishment of world models, generally accepted views and understandings of reality.
The problem is usually generated by changes, new, revolutionary thoughts and ideas that shake the dominant world model, that undermine the associated ruling ideology, that threat the established power relations. In such uncertain periods we talk of an "epistemological crisis" because the knowledge we believed to be truth and the only one turns out to be false and misleading. This was the case with the medieval world model, characterized by order, by high semioticity when it slowly changed to the new world model of the enlightenment where the formerly believed order was lost but reality was still considered to be researchable, understandable through science. And this is the case with the belief in the human being capable of mastering himself and everything created by the Carthesian philosophy when Lyotard announces a crisis in knowledge and Baudrillad explains how we live in a culture of simulations. The feelings of relativity and uncertainty are difficult to dwell with that is typical for periods affected by an epistemological crisis. .
Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead brings into the picture such and similar philosophical (epistemological) questions as through the topics it deals with so through the techniques it applies.