Thursday, June 27, 2013

Horatio in Star Trek

“Conspiracy.” By Tracy Tormé and Robert Sabaroff. 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 1, episode 25. Syndicated television. 9 May 1988. DVD. Paramount, 2002.

Every time I think my Shakespeare and Star Trek Complete post is complete, I find just one more reference to Shakespeare.

Near the end of Star Trek: The Next Generation's first season, the captain of the USS Enterprise has a secret meeting with the captains of three other starships. One of those ships is named the USS Horatio.

Some may think that the starship is named for Horatio Nelson, but I think it more likely to have been named after the character in Hamlet. Watch the salient points in the clip below and see if you don't agree:

Alas, poor Horatio.

The Horatio is an ambassador-class vessel. In Hamlet, Horatio's involvement with the new reign of Fortinbras at the end of the play makes him a de facto ambassador. The Horatio is associated with a large amount of wreckage. In Hamlet, Horatio is associated with all those dead bodies lying around the stage. It's pretty clear that the ship is named after the character in Hamlet, making this one more Shakespeare allusion in Star Trek.

Note: For more connections between Hamlet and Star Trek, try The Noble Heart of Star Trek, a recent project by a student at The George Washington University. 

Links: Shakespeare and Star Trek CompleteThe Noble Heart of Star Trek.

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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.
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