Friday, November 21, 2008

Shakespeare, Sonnet XVIII, and Star Trek

“Whom Gods Destroy.” By Lee Erwin. Perf. William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, Nichelle Nichols, James Doohan, and George Takei. Dir. Herb Wallerstein. Star Trek. Season 3, episode 14. NBC. 3 January 1969. DVD. Paramount, 2008.

The sonnets are not as often the subject of Shakespeare and Film related material as we might expect. The BBC's A Waste of Shame (for which, q.v.) is the only full-length film treatment of the subject matter of the sonnets that I can think of. More often, sonnets are simply a way to call a certain flavor—usually a romantic flavor—into a film.

As is its wont, Star Trek does something weirder than that. In this case, some insane aliens have taken over the psychiatric ward. One of them recites a poem she wrote this morning (and then goes on with an old, old joke—you'll see):

Here's the sonnet in its entirety—I typed it up this morning!
Sonnet XVIII
Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest:
     So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
     So long lives this and this gives life to thee.

Links: A Gateway to Star Trek Information at Wikipedia.

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Shakespeare, William. The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Gen. ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
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