Switching to Sonnet 141, Picard quotes with greater accuracy.
Picard counts backward to see if he has quoted the lines with precision. He's checking for pentameter while ignoring iambs at this point.
episode "Darmok" is much more often noted for its interest for linguists and linguistics than for anything Shakespearean. There's far more
, actually, than Shakespeare in it! However, there is an intriguing reference halfway through.
The premise of the episode is that communication with the aliens is impossible. The universal translator can translate some of the things they say ("when the walls fell," for example), but these sporadic phrases make little to no sense in the context. Eventually, the crew discovers that the Tamarians use a language that is almost entirely metaphoric (leaving Saussure, Derrida, and Lévi-Straus out of it for the moment). Here's their discussion of the problem:
Interesting, yes? But it's even more complicated than that. The image of Juliet on her balcony used as an example here does not
to be an image of romance. It could be an image of anticipation or loneliness or patriarchal oppression or imminent disaster! It could even be an advertising image for an architectural firm. In fact, it probably is!
The image in the play is similarly polysemic, presenting almost all these possibilities and more. The complexities of Shakespeare are only compounded by the complexities of language.
And yet, if I tell my beloved that she reminds me of Juliet on her balcony, the context implies one of these concepts to the ultimate exclusion of all others. That's right: an advertising image for an architectural firm.
Can I help it if my beloved designs balconies for a living?*
*She doesn't, really. But it's a bit funnier that way.
Star Trek's Mot the Barber Cites Shakespeare
“Ensign Ro.” By Michael Piller and Rick Berman. Perf. Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn, Gates McFadden, Brent Spiner, and Michelle Forbes. Dir. Les Landau. Star Trek: The Next Generation. Season 5, episode 3. Syndicated television. 21 October 1991. DVD. Paramount, 2002.
Brief let me be.
The Barber of The Enterprise
rattles on and on at the beginning of this episode—rather like Polonius, come to think of it—until he finally hits upon a quote from Shakespeare. It's a bit like an infinite number of monkeys typing away at a keyboard, I suppose—though that may not really give Mot his due.
In "Ensign Ro," a Shakespearean title is used as dialogue in a Star Trek
episode. The more usual course is for a scrap of Shakespearean dialogue to be used as a title in a Star Trek
In any case, here it is:
The Dark Lady of the Star Trek Sonnets
“The Perfect Mate.” By René Echevarria and Gary Perconte. Perf. Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn, Gates McFadden, Brent Spiner, and Famke Janssen. Dir. Cliff Bole. Star Trek: The Next Generation. Season 5, episode 21. Syndicated television. 27 April 1992. DVD. Paramount, 2002.
In a more obscure, more tangential approach to the sonnets, "The Perfect Mate" offers a few tantalizing allusions that are not (necessarily) drawn from any specific sonnet.
The plot seems a bit silly to me. The woman has the ability to detect what a man would want in a wife and to become that very thing. For Captain Picard, such a women would be strong, attractive, mysterious, knowledgeable about cosmic archeology, and (this is the part that seems less silly) something of a Shakespearean.
Alas, the Captain is unable to contemplate matrimony—particularly in this instance: the woman is pledged to marry another.
Take a look at the clip first; I'll return with some commentary after you've done so.
The conclusion—"I only hope he likes Shakespeare"—isn't a bad exit line.
We're given an allusion to "the dark woman of raven brows and mournful eyes of Shakespeare's Sonnets." The line almost alludes more to a millennia of critical work on the sonnets than to the sonnets themselves, but there are a few lines to which they may be pointing:
Sonnet 130 says that "black wires grow on her head" (4).
Sonnet 127 declares that "my mistress' brows are raven black" (9).
Sonnet 43 reads (in part) ". . . in dreams they look on thee, / And darkly bright are bright in dark directed" (3-4), but that sonnet is usually thought of as addressed to the young man instead of to the dark lady.
I suppose that the sonnet most at work in the twelve-word allusion above is 127. We have the raven-black brows, of course; we have, moreover, the eyes that "mourners seem" (10).
In the old age black was not counted fair,
Or if it were, it bore not beauty's name;
But now is black beauty's successive heir,
And beauty slander'd with a bastard shame:
For since each hand hath put on nature's power,
Fairing the foul with art's false borrow'd face,
Sweet beauty hath no name, no holy bower,
But is profaned, if not lives in disgrace.
Therefore my mistress' brows are raven black,
Her eyes so suited, and they mourners seem
At such who, not born fair, no beauty lack,
Slandering creation with a false esteem:
Yet so they mourn, becoming of their woe,
That every tongue says beauty should look so.
And there's one last issue: was it cheating to have Mr. Data (as she calls him) help her swot up her Shakespeare to show Captain Picard just how compatible they would be together? Is this the female singer's version of "Brush up your Shakespeare / And the women you will wow?"
Star Trek's Midsummer Night's Dream
“Time’s Arrow, Part 2.” By Jeri Taylor. Perf. Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn, Gates McFadden, and Brent Spiner. Dir. Les Landau. Star Trek: The Next Generation. Season 6, episode 1. Syndicated television. 21 September 1992. DVD. Paramount, 2002.
Shakespeare can be used as an excuse or a distraction. In this clip, it's both. It serves as an excuse to explain the odd behavior of the crew of the Enterprise
, who have travelled back in time to Mark Twain's San Franscisco. Ah, they're actors! Putting on a Shakespeare play! What could be more natural? It also serves as a distraction to the comic-relief-providing landlady, who keeps popping in at inopportune moments to demand the rent.
Many of the actors in the Star Trek
franchise have performed in Shakespeare elsewhere (Patrick Stewart being the most noted example). I wonder what Data would be like as Puck in a more complete production of the play. Hmmmmm. Well, until that happens, we have his "Wither wander you?" to contemplate:
Star Trek's Q and Lady Macbeth
“True Q.” By René Echevarria. Perf. Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn, Gates McFadden, Brent Spiner, Olivia d'Abo, and John de Lancie. Dir. Robert Scheerer. Star Trek: The Next Generation. Season 6, episode 6. Syndicated television. 1 November 1992. DVD. Paramount, 2002.
Allow me another genuinely micro micropost.
"True Q" offers another example of Shakespeare that has become part and parcel of ordinary English conversation. Q incidentally quotes from Macbeth
, giving us Lady Macbeth's "What's done is done" (III.ii.11-12). I only wish the writers had followed it with Lady Macbeth's similar—but, oh! How different—later quotation: "What’s done cannot be undone" (V.i.64).
When Captain Picard Shuffled Off
“Tapestry.” By Ronald D. Moore. Perf. Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn, Gates McFadden, Brent Spiner, and John de Lancie. Dir. Les Landau. Star Trek: The Next Generation. Season 6, episode 15. Syndicated television. 15 February 1993. DVD. Paramount, 2002.
The last missed reference also comes to us from the contributors to Memory Alpha
, who noted a Shakespeare allusion in Season Six. Q reappears—and this sort of thing always seems to happen when Q appears—in Captain Picard's afterlife.
And Shakespeare is there, too.
More specifically, a line Hamlet delivers—"When we have shuffled off this mortal coil . . ." (III.i.66)—is re-delivered there, Q making one small change to Hamlet's line, substituting "the" for "this."
And there you have it! All the Shakespeare in the Star Trek
universe—or all the Shakespeare I've been able to find in The Original Series
, The Animated Series
, The Next Generation
, and the films. Beyond that I decline to venture. At present.
A Rare Allusion to Cymbeline in Star Trek
“Genesis.” By Brannon Braga. Perf. Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn, Gates McFadden, Dwight Schultz, and Brent Spiner. Dir. Gates McFadden. Star Trek: The Next Generation. Season 7, episode 19. Syndicated television. 19 March 1994. DVD. Paramount, 2002.
I acknowledge that my previous two (at least) posts about Shakespeare in Star Trek
may have been stretching it a bit, but we're back on solid ground here.
In this episode, the hypochondriac Barclay is worried that he may be suffering from a particularly Shakespearean illness: Cymbeline
The skeptics among you may point out that the condition is spelled "Symbalene" in the captioning to the episode, and those same skeptics may point to the entry on Symbalene blood burn at Memory Alpha
; however, those individuals may have overlooked two important points in their skepticism. First, the disease is likely named for this quote from Shakespeare's Cymbeline
Thou basest thing, avoid! Hence, from my sight!
If after this command thou fraught the court
With thy unworthiness, thou diest: away!
Thou'rt poison to my blood. (I.i.125-28)
It's clear enough that a poison in the blood was enough to inspire the name of this condition, but the second point clinches it. Barclay had originally thought he was suffering from "Terellian Death Syndrome," which could be spelled "Tyrellian Death Syndrome" to indicate its connection to the character Tyrrel from Richard III
. Tyrrel, as you know, is the one who dispatches the two princes in the Tower of London. If any Shakespeare character could be equated with a Death Syndrome, it's Tyrrel.
Star Trek's Tempest
“Emergence.” By Joe Menosky. Perf. Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn, Gates McFadden, and Brent Spiner. Dir. Cliff Bole. Star Trek: The Next Generation. Season 7, episode 23. Syndicated television. 22 May 1994. DVD. Paramount, 2002.
It's been nearly a month since Shakespeare and Star Trek
week began here at Bardfilm. I imagine that it's about time to wrap things up with some final clips and some final commentary.
is very good on endings. The number of scholars who have considered it to be Shakespeare's farewell to the stage is very great. I think that that may have been in the minds of Star Trek
's writers as they neared the end of their seventh—and last—season.
In this episode, Data is trying to put on a production of The Tempest
, but he's interrupted: the Enterprise
runs amok, goes crazy, and gives birth, which is the reason for Data's confusing remark at the end of the clip (I conflated the beginning and the end of the episode into one file). Please excuse the darkness of the clip: as you'll see, it was Data's decision, not mine, to have it so dark.
Hamlet and the Merchant of Venice Walk into a Pub in Fair Verona—On Another Planet
“Birthright, Part 1.” By Brannon Braga. Perf. Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn, Gates McFadden, Brent Spiner, and Paul Winfield. Dir. Winrich Kolbe. Star Trek: The Next Generation. Season 6, episode 16. Syndicated television. 7 March 1993. DVD. Paramount, 2002.
“The Ensigns of Command.” By Drew Deighan, Ronald D. Moore, and W. Reed Moran. Perf. Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn, Gates McFadden, Brent Spiner, and Paul Winfield. Dir. Les Landau. Star Trek: The Next Generation. Season 3, episode 2. Syndicated television. 19 March 1990. DVD. Paramount, 2002.
“The Outrageous Okona.” By Burton Armus. Perf. Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn, Brent Spiner, Billy Campbell, and Whoopi Goldberg. Dir. Robert Becker. Star Trek: The Next Generation. Season 2, episode 4. Syndicated television. 12 December 1988. DVD. Paramount, 2002.
Since I’ve added to the total sum of human knowledge by pointing out three episodes from the Original Series of Star Trek
that draw their plots from Shakespeare, I thought I’d try to double that sum by pointing out three Star Trek: The Next Generation
episodes that do the same.
“Birthright, Part 1” is a derivative version of Hamlet. Sort of. In it, Worf has been told that his father—a father treacherously killed—is still alive, and he goes to seek him. Hamlet, of course, finds a ghost; Worf finds a group of Klingons, but not his father.
He does, on the other hand, find a Horatio analogue—one who paraphrases I.ii.211-12 (“I knew your father. / These hands are not more like”) into “I knew your father well, Worf” (see image above).
In “The Ensigns of Command,” a group of aliens called “The Sheliak” are notorious for wanting to stick to the exact wording of a written contract. Eventually, the specifics of the contract itself are employed against them (see the image below, which contains a segment of the Treaty of Armens—Paragraph 1290, the “Third Party Arbitration Clause,” to be specific).
Well, that’s clearly a version of The Merchant of Venice, right?
You might not be convinced—yet. Take another look at the aliens’ name. They are the Sheliak. Sheliak. Shyliak. Shyloiak. Shylock! Yes, Shylock has been extended into an entire alien species, still crying, “I crave the law” (IV.i.206)!
Finally, “The Outrageous Okona” gives us a Romeo and Juliet
. Yes, I’m grasping at straws here. There are two households, both alike in dignity, and neither one wants their child to marry the child of the other. Yup. Romeo and Juliet
. Only less tragic. And in space.
Next time, there are some miscellaneous things to wrap up, but we are nearly at the end of our lengthy survey of Shakespeare and Star Trek
Screen Shot Shakespeare: Star Trek Title References to Shakespeare
“Dagger of the Mind.” By S. Bar-David (Pseudonym) [Shimon Wincelberg]. Perf. William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, and Nichelle Nichols. Dir. Vincent McEveety. Star Trek. Season 1, episode 9. NBC. 3 November 1966. DVD. Paramount, 2007.
Fairly frequently, the connection between Shakespeare and Star Trek
is merely titular. [All right, junior high readers—you can stop laughing now.]
The titles are drawn from Shakespeare, in other words, but the plots have only the most superficial connection—if that—to their titles.
Unlike “By Any Other Name” and “Conscience of the King” (for which, q.v.
respectively), episodes that (more or less—and sometimes less than more, I'll admit) connect their Shakespearean titles with Shakespearean matter in their plots, these episodes, called "titularly parasitical" by a scholar in the field (for which, q.v.
), have a title that alludes to Shakespeare but don't do much beyond that. [Junior high readers may need a bit of time here to repeat the phrase "titularly parasitical" a few times amidst giggles. Now we can go on.]
For your convenience, I've provided screen shots of the title cards of these episodes, together with citations (in proper MLA form) for each and (where it seems appropriate) some commentary.
The first connection between Shakespeare and Star Trek
is listed and pictured above: “Dagger of the Mind.” The allusion is to Macbeth
, naturally, but the plot doesn't take us too far along those lines. It's about a prisoner who escapes from the Tantalus Penal Colony. [Hello? Junior high readers? Can we come back to the subject for a minute? Please? All right. Quiet down now. Quiet! That's better. Thanks.]
Anyway, he's from this penal colony [Oh, come on!]
where they make the prisoners see what they want them to see. That's all. Except here's a screen shot of the pharmaceutical delivery that begins the episode:
“All our Yesterdays.” By Jean Lisette Aroeste. Perf. William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, and James Doohan. Dir. Marvin Chomsky. Star Trek. Season 3, episode 23. NBC. 14 March 1969. DVD. Paramount, 2008.
In "All our Yesterdays," time travel saves people at the end of their civilization. The Shakespearean title gives it a tone that "People Jump Backward in Time Before their Planet Explodes" didn't really have. The allusion in the title is to Macbeth's "Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow" speech. I suppose something could be made of the way the civilization stands at its "last syllable of recorded time"—but I'm not going to do it.
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. Dir. William Shatner. Perf. William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, Nichelle Nichols, James Doohan, Walter Koenig, and George Takei. 1989. DVD. Paramount, 2005.
I suppose the allusion in the title here might be considered more illusionary. In my mind, I connect the "final frontier" with the border "from whose bourn / No traveller returns" of Hamlet's "To be or not to be" soliloquy. But I could be convinced that they have very little in common. This is not true of the next title, however.
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. Dir. Nicholas Meyer. Perf. William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, Nichelle Nichols, James Doohan, Walter Koenig, and George Takei. 1991. DVD. Paramount, 2003.
Clearly, the reference here is to the "Undiscovered country from whose bourn / No traveller returns," although one of the Klingon commanders defines it as "the future" (for which, q.v.
). In this film, Bones and Kirk think that they will never return when are sentenced to life imprisonment on a penal asteroid. [That's enough, junior high readers! Oh, I give up.]
“Remember Me.” By Lee Sheldon. Perf. Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn, Denise Crosby, Gates McFadden, Marina Sirtis, Brent Spiner, and Wil Wheaton. Dir. Cliff Bole. Star Trek: The Next Generation. Season 4, episode 5. Syndicated television. 22 October 1990. DVD. Paramount, 2002.
Hamlet's father's ghost gets the credit for this allusion.
“Devil’s Due.” By Philip Lazebnik and William Douglas Lansford. Perf. Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn, Gates McFadden, and Brent Spiner. Dir. Tom Benko. Star Trek: The Next Generation. Season 4, episode 13. Syndicated television. 4 February 1991. DVD. Paramount, 2002.
All right—this one is very tentative. Shakespeare uses the phrase "to give the devil his due" twice (in 1 Henry IV
and in Henry V
“The Mind’s Eye.” By René Echevarria and Ken Schaefer. Perf. Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn, Gates McFadden, and Brent Spiner. Dir. David Livingstone. Star Trek: The Next Generation. Season 4, episode 24. Syndicated television. 27 May 1991. DVD. Paramount, 2002.
Once again, Hamlet
is mined for a title.
“Thine Own Self.” By Ronald D. Moore and Christopher Hatton. Perf. Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn, Gates McFadden, and Brent Spiner. Dir. Winrich Kolbe. Star Trek: The Next Generation. Season 7, episode 16. Syndicated television. 14 February 1994. DVD. Paramount, 2002.
And again with the Hamlet reference in the title!
I'll try to return to deeper integrations of Shakespeare in Star Trek
Screen Shot Shakespeare II: Additional Star Trek Title References to Shakespeare
“Sins of the Father.” By Drew Deighan, Ronald D. Moore, and W. Reed Moran. Perf. Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn, Gates McFadden, Brent Spiner, and Paul Winfield. Dir. Les Landau. Star Trek: The Next Generation. Season 3, episode 17. Syndicated television. 19 March 1990. DVD. Paramount, 2002.
that I've used to fill in some of the gaps from my other attempt at "Shakespeare and Star Trek
Complete" mentioned the episode entitled "Sins of the Father.”
I have dealt with Shakespearean titles in Star Trek
episodes in a previous post (for which, q.v.
), but I hadn't considered that one. It is
true that Launcelot says, "Yes, truly; for, look you, the sins of the father are to be laid upon the children: therefore, I promise ye, I fear you" in Act III, scene 5 of The Merchant of Venice
, but the phrase is such a commonality, both then and now, that I am skeptical of a direction connection to Shakespeare, as I was with “Devil’s Due" in the earlier post.
Further, the phrase is a biblical one, drawn from Exodus 20:5, although most of relevant translations (the Geneva Bible, for example) use "iniquity of the fathers" instead of "sins of the fathers" (The exception is the Bishop's Bible, which reads "I the Lord thy God am a gelous God, and visite the sinne of the fathers vpon the chyldren"). All that is very interesting, and may require additional research, but the main point is that the phrase is biblical first and Shakespearean later.
We have this, then. A phrase that is common during the time of Shakespeare is used by Shakespeare, becomes (perhaps) even more common, and then is used by Star Trek
. Does that make the title a quote from, allusion to, or reference to Shakespeare? It would be hard to argue that it's direct
, but it may be present.
But if we include "Sins of the Father," should we also include "The Dauphin"? The word is often used in Shakespeare's history plays (e.g. (one among many), Henry V says, in Act I, scene ii, "We are glad the Dauphin is so pleasant with us; / His present and your pains we thank you for"). That may be going too far. All the same, here's the image and the information about it, just in case!
"The Dauphin." By Scott Rubenstein and Leonard Mlodinow. Perf. Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn, Brent Spiner, and Paul Winfield. Dir. Rob Bowman. Star Trek: The Next Generation. Season 5, episode 2. Syndicated television. 20 February 1989. DVD. Paramount, 2002.
Secrets of the Star Trek Title Sequence Revealed
“Title Sequence.” Star Trek. Seasons 1-3 (Original Series); Seasons 1-7 ( The Next Generation). DVD. Paramount, 2002.
From its beginning—from the first word of its title sequence, in fact—Star Trek
has been deeply indebted to Shakespeare. In this clip and in the text below it, I reveal the allusions to Shakespeare made in the opening title sequence. For the first time, you may trace the origins of the word "space" and the name of the multiple Enterprise
s that fill the screens of Star Trek
“I could be bounded in a nut shell and count myself a king of infinite space[: The final frontier].”
“Goes it against the main of Poland, sir, or for some [final] frontier?”
“With her I lived in joy; our wealth increased / By prosperous voyages [of the starship Enterprise].”
“[These are the voyages of the starship] Enterprises of great pith and moment.”
“Whose glorious deeds, but in these fields of late, / Made emulous [five-year] missions ’mongst the gods themselves.”
“O brave new world, [O strange new worlds] / That [have] such people in [them]!”
“I thank your majesty, and her, my lord: / These words, these looks, infuse new life [and new civilizations] in me.”
“Sound drums and trumpets [to] boldly and cheerfully [go where no one has gone before]; / God and Saint George!”
Countdown to the End of Shakespeare and Star Trek Week
“In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II.” By Mike Sussman. Perf. Scott Bakula, Jolene Blalock, and John Billingsley. Dir. James L. Conway. Star Trek: Enterprise. Season 4, episode 19. United Paramount Network. 29 April 2005. DVD. Paramount Home Video, 2005.
As the Star Trek
franchise grew and expanded, it took Shakespeare with it. However, it seems to have confined him to an alternate universe.
I've mentioned this episode before
, but I did not provide, at that point, a video clip of the scene.
In this episode, we're placed in an alternate universe, and a ship from the regular Star Trek universe has found its way there as well. The universe of the episode is harsh and unrelenting—and it doesn't care for Shakespeare! I suppose that's one way to tell the difference between the good guys and the bad guys: Tell me what you do with Shakespeare and I will tell you what you are (to paraphrase Brilliat-Savarin).
But the fact that this is the only reference to Shakespeare in the entire Star Trek: Enterprise series (a prequel to The Original Series) isn't enough to redeem the series. The only way I managed to choke my way through it was by watching it at three times the speed with the subtitles on. At that speed, it's actually not a bad show!
This is the last known reference to Shakespeare in the Star Trek universe—but I couldn't bear to end with it. I plan two posts to wrap up this subject—look for them soon at a blog near you! Actually, this blog.
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.
"I wish your Enterprise to-day may thrive." —Julius Caesar, III.i.13
Star Trek: Generations [a.k.a. Star Trek VII]. Dir. David Carson. Perf. William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, Nichelle Nichols, James Doohan, Walter Koenig, George Takei, Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn, Brent Spiner, Billy Campbell, Alan Ruck, Whoopi Goldberg, and Malcolm McDowell. 1994. DVD. Paramount, 2004.
With the image above, Bardfilm wraps up its survey of Shakespeare in Star Trek
. Combing through the wreckage of The Enterprise
, Captain Picard is delighted to find his Complete Works of Shakespeare
It's not a bad image for what Star Trek
, in all its permutations, has done with Shakespeare. The show has quoted Shakespeare, decontextualized Shakespeare, alluded to Shakespeare, borrowed from Shakespeare, and done many other things with Shakespeare, but Shakespeare comes out intact.
The overarching interest in these uses of Shakespeare in a pop culture icon like Star Trek
is that they are both engaged in the same project. Shakespeare takes real human beings and puts them in situations that enable us (and them) to study and to learn about the human condition—its behavior, its faults, its depravity, its redemption. Although the circumstances may be unlike any that we are likely to experience (I'm not, for example, in line to the Throne of Scotland, however much I'd like to be), we—through Shakespeare's characters—learn by experience
about our own guilt and sin as we see Macbeth's guilt and sin played out on stage. As we learn about our own need for redemption, we also discover means for working out that redemption. I hope I'll never be as hypocritical as Measure for Measure
's Angelo, for example, but I can certainly learn about mercy and redemption by watching him through that play.
also puts human beings (and Betazoids and Romulans and Sheliak and Vulcans and Tholians and Klingons and others too numerous to mention here) into situations that show us (and them) something about humanity writ large. Star Trek
, being what it is, has a less-Calvinistic (I'm just starting work on a paper I've been commissioned to write on Shakespeare and John Calvin—more on that as time progresses) position on human nature than does Shakespeare, but its characters are still seeking redemption for humanity.
There you have it. Star Trek
, seeking to understand the human condition, turns to Shakespeare to aid it in its own—um—enterprise.
Hamlet's Father's Ghost's Speech in Paramount's Star Trek's Troi's Revenge
Star Trek: Nemesis [a.k.a. Star Trek X]. Dir. Stuart Baird. Perf. Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn, Marina Sirtis, and Brent Spiner. 2002. DVD. Paramount, 2003.
In the worst of all the Star Trek
films to date lies the final Shakespeare quotation of all the Star Trek
films to date:
Remember me. (Hamlet, I.v.94)
The quotation had been used before—in an Original Series episode (for which, q.v.
) and as the title of an entire Next Generation
episode (for which, q.v.
). In this film, it's used as a cry of
revenge rather than (as in Shakespeare's play) a cry to
Deanna Troi has been psychically abused by the bad guys in this film; in this scene, she uses her empathic abilities to target the bad guys' cloaked ship:
And there you have it. Captain Picard's cry of "Fire at Will" is as likely to be a reference to Will Shakespeare as to Will Riker (in other words, not very likely), so the Shakespeare allusions in Star Trek
stop at "Remember me." And that is, all in all, not a bad place for them to stop—even if the film itself is pretty bad.
Star Trek: Beyond. Dir. Justin Lin. Perf. Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, and Karl Urban. 2016. DVD. Paramount, 2016.
Just when you think you've assembled every single Shakespeare reference, allusion, and quote in all of canonical Star Trek
, they release a new film with a new quote.
This time, it's quite a good one, though it is obscure.
First, the scene. Reboot Spock has been injured. Reboot Kirk is worried. Reboot McCoy has found some ancient medical equipment that he hopes will help.
The word hope
is the cue for Reboot Spock to quote some Shakespeare:
The quote Reboot Spock chooses is one Measure for Measure's Claudio delivers while he is under sentence of death: "The miserable have no other medicine / But only hope" (III.i.2-3). If Reboot Spock had had the strength, he doubtless would have concluded the line: "I have hope to live, and am prepar'd to die" (III.i.4).
Reboot Bones is nonplussed, but only for a moment. Either he recognizes the quote or he figures that Reboot Spock is more likely to quote Shakespeare than . . . say . . . Dryden.
I'd like to read more into the quote than the surface connection of hope and medicine. In the film, Reboot Spock and Reboot Uhura have decided not to pursue a romantic relationship; Claudio and Juliet have had the decision not to pursue a romantic relationship thrust upon them. Claudio without Juliet is as miserable as Reboot Spock without Reboot Uhura.
Links: The Film at IMDB.