Monday, May 25, 2009

Shakespeare and Star Trek: The Revenge of the Bard!

“Catspaw.” By Robert Bloch. Perf. William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, Nichelle Nichols, James Doohan, George Takei, Antoinette Bower, Theo Marcuse, Michael Barrier, and Eddie Paskey. Dir. Joseph Pevney. Star Trek. Season 2, episode 7. NBC. 27 October 1967. DVD. Paramount, 2008.
Some time ago, Bardfilm had a series of posts on the integration of Shakespeare and Star Trek. I attempted to be complete, but I soon discovered a number of gaps in my coverage. I apologize.

Fortunately, I intend to fill those gaps with another series of posts—a series that will culminate in one gigantic post containing The Complete Works of Shakespeare in Star Trek!

For the record, I learned of some of these gaps from other lists (for example, this one), but many of these are my own discoveries.

The earliest gap to fill (chronologically-speaking) is a possible allusion to Macbeth (rather than a direct reference to any play) in The Original Series. Here, Bones, Spock, and Kirk have landed on The Planet of the Scary Things, and they (like Macbeth and Banquo) are met by three witches:

As I said, it's much more of an allusion than a quotation, but I think there's a connection that involves more than just the number of witches. One thing is the "Very bad poetry" noted by Mr. Spock.

The witches, in addition to saying "Go back . . . remember the curse" any other scary things, close with these lines:
"Winds shall rise, and fog descend.
So leave here all or meet your end.
Mr. Spock's assessment isn't far off. And that's the key to connecting this with Macbeth. There are segments of "very bad poetry" in Shakespeare's play—mostly given to the witches, and mostly not written by Shakespeare. For example, this speech Hecate makes is frequently said to be a non-Shakespearean interpolation:
                          How did you dare
To trade and traffic with Macbeth
In riddles and affairs of death;
And I, the mistress of your charms,
The close contriver of all harms,
Was never call'd to bear my part,
Or show the glory of our art?
The Star Trek witches' bad couplet is quite as bad as any one of these!

Links: A Gateway to Star Trek Information at Wikipedia.

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Bardfilm is normally written as one word, though it can also be found under a search for "Bard Film Blog." Bardfilm is a Shakespeare blog (admittedly, one of many Shakespeare blogs), and it is dedicated to commentary on films (Shakespeare movies, The Shakespeare Movie, Shakespeare on television, Shakespeare at the cinema), plays, and other matter related to Shakespeare (allusions to Shakespeare in pop culture, quotes from Shakespeare in popular culture, quotations that come from Shakespeare, et cetera).

Unless otherwise indicated, quotations from Shakespeare's works are from the following edition:
Shakespeare, William. The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Gen. ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
All material original to this blog is copyrighted: Copyright 2008-2039 (and into perpetuity thereafter) by Keith Jones.

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