Sunday, April 27, 2008

Shakespeare in (Un)Likely Places, Continued

Star Trek is a place where you expect to find references to Shakespeare. It’s part of the game. But it was only in the preantepenultimate (the fourth from the last) episode that I noticed anything Shakespearean at all.

In that episode, we’re in an alternate universe—one in which humans are conquerors rather than cooperators in inter-planetary travel. But that universe connects to the usual Star Trek universe by discovering a ship (the USS Defiant, last seen in a third-season original Start Trek episode) that has gone back in time and across to this universe.

I told you that to tell you this. The two characters above (he’s the doctor; she’s the Vulcan—in other words, he’s Bones; she’s Spock) have been reading the literature and history of the other universe.

Both universes had their Shakespeare, and that’s where the interest (finally!) lies. Here's the speech, trippingly given in frame-by-frame mode:

Here's the text, rank and gross, merely:

"I wanted to compare our major works with their counterparts in the other universe. . . . The stories were similar in some respects, but their characters were weak and compassionate. With the exception of Shakespeare, of course. From what I could tell, his plays were equally grim in both universes."

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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