Friday, May 4, 2012

May the Fourth Be With You: Chewbacca's Quotations from Hamlet

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. Dir. George Lucas. Perf. Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, David Prowse, Peter Mayhew, and Kenny Baker. Trans. Bardfilm. DVD. Twentieth Century Fox, 2006.

Having just completed my coursework for Wookie One-O-One: The Language, the Culture, and Dispelling the "Walking Carpet" Stereotype, I revisited the Star Wars series, and I was astonished to learn that Chewbacca, the most prominent Wookie in the series, is continually muttering quotations from Hamlet! I'm surprised that no one has written about this before, but there are far more Klingon speakers than Wookie (officially, "Shyriiwook") speakers in our galaxy.

The prime example of Chewbacca quoting from Hamlet occurs when he discovers the dissembled C-3PO:

There are many more examples than I have time to catalogue at present. Perhaps you all could return to this blog on May the Fourth of next year for another sample.

Links: The Film at IMDB.

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Bonus image for those who have scrolled down this far:

Later in the film, Chewbacca bears "Yorick" (C-3PO) on his back in exchange for the many times—I know not how oft—C-3PO had borne him on his back.

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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.

The very instant that I saw you did / My heart fly to your service; there resides, / To make me slave to it; and, for your sake, / Am I this patient [b]log-man.

—The Tempest