Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Two Quotes from Macbeth in an Episode of Doctor Who

"Sleep No More." By Mark Gatiss.  Perf. Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman. Dir. Justin Molotnikov. Doctor Who. Series 9, episode 9. BBC One. 14 November 2015. DVD. BBC Home Entertainment, 2016.

Well, that didn't take long! I was just complaining (mildly, to be fair) that an Agincourt reference in a Doctor Who episode didn't bring in any Shakespeare. Just a few episodes later, the Doctor quotes from Macbeth in an episode about sleep (and the lack thereof).

You can read the details of the plot of the episode by following the link at the end of this post. In the meantime, let's cut right to the Shakespeare:

We get two separate speeches from Act II, scene ii of Macbeth. They're both spoken by Macbeth very soon after the murder of Duncan. The first is slightly different from the text of the play. Here's how that reads:

Sleep that knits up the ravell'd sleave of care,
The death of each day's life, sore labor's bath,
Balm of hurt minds, great nature's second course,
Chief nourisher in life's feast.  (II.ii.34–37)

The doctor drops "nature's second course" and drops the "great" down to the next line.

In the second scene, it seems like the Doctor is on the verge of giving us some Hamlet. He says, "To die . . . to die, to die," and I'm waiting for the ". . . to sleep— / No more" from III.i.59-60 of Hamlet. Instead, we get a different "sleep no more"—together with a pan across the room that reveals a bunch of potential daggers.

I'm not so sure about the concluding reflection on the Shakespeare speeches. It seems somewhat lacking. I take "He really knew his stuff" as a starting point for Shakespeare study; it seems to be something of a conclusion here. Still, I appreciate the working in of Shakespeare to this pop culture artifact.

Links: The Episode at IMDB.

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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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—The Tempest