Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are two well-dressed Elizabethan . men in the middle of a coin-spinning game. Their location is . featureless. Whoever calls the coin correctly wins it, and . Rosencrantz has been calling heads and winning dozens of . times. While he feels guilty about taking so much money from . his friend, he does not see the consistent 'heads' tosses as . peculiar at all. Conversely, Guildenstern doesn't care about the . money, but he is disturbed by the lengthening series of 'heads' . tosses. Rosencrantz is caught up in the game, but Guildenstern . wants to think about it theoretically.

He begins thinking about . the laws of probability, focusing on the idea that if six monkeys . were thrown up in the air repeatedly, they would land on their . heads and tails about equally often. He tries to calculate the idea . of an 'even chance' in his head: he just can't believe that the . coin could land heads-up so many times in a row if there was a . fifty-fifty chance each time that it would land tails. Rosencrantz, . however, continues to be embarrassed at his success, calling it . 'boring,' which irritates Guildenstern, who is very interested in . what is going on.

Rosencrantz calls out that heads has come up . eighty-five times: a new record for him. Guildenstern gets . angrier, asking what Rosencrantz would have thought if the . coins had come down against him eighty-five times. Not . understanding that, in terms of probability, this outcome would . have been no different, Rosencrantz simply tells him he would . suspect that the coins were fake. Guildenstern wants .

Rosencrantz to feel some awe, or even fear, at the strangeness of . the results of their game, but Rosencrantz cannot be moved. . Guildenstern imagines possible reasons that this could be . happening: he is willing it out of some unremembered guilt, or . God is willing it, or time has stopped and they are repeating the . same coin toss over and over. . Trying, more idly now, to understand, he asks Rosencrantz .