Monday, November 7, 2016

To Boldly Go Where No Bard Has Gone Before

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My husband is obsessed with Star Trek. He can tell you all sorts of facts and details about the show that most people don't remember. He even spends most of his free time designing starships on his computer. Naturally, since we started dating I've had to learn to love Star Trek as well.

The writers of Star Trek frequently used Shakespeare's plays as inspiration for their episodes. There are a lot of scenes where they recite lines from plays, even acting them out. Other times the plot is based on a Shakespearean play. Even the titles of episodes are frequently a reference. The writers, creators, and actors of Star Trek are huge fans of Star Trek.

Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner, and several other actors in Star Trek began their careers as actors in Shakespeare's plays. They may have had a hand in the large amount of Star Trek references that invade the culture.

Here is one the scenes where Captain Picard uses Shakespeare to save the mother of one of his crew members:

In one of the Star Trek movies, a Klingon character references Shakespeare and tells a member of Star Fleet that "you haven't experienced Shakespeare until you have read him in the original Klingon." This idea that Shakespeare could be an alien writer and that it can be enjoyed in other cultures makes Shakespeare's writing even more interesting in its popularity and timelessness.

I am having difficulty narrowing this topic because there are so many things that I want to write about amongst all of these connections. If I were to focus on one play that is referenced I would choose Henry V because it is included so interestingly included. Data, one of the main characters in the Next Generation, is an android. One of the themes that is included throughout the show is Data's journey to understand more about humanity. Captain Picard tries to help him understand by having him perform Shakespeare. One of the plays that he performs is Henry V. I think the use of Shakespeare in this way is very interesting. I'd really like more feedback to know if this is something I should pursue.


  1. I never even thought about this! This is such an awesome paper topic! I love Star Trek too but obviously I have a lot more to learn!

  2. Gahhh! I think this is going to be really interesting and it just makes me want to delve into Stark Trek now. I've always heard that the episodes are quite philosophical and are not just another form of entertainment, so I'm sure that the episodes don't simply just portray Shakespeare's plays, but offer alternate analysis of the plays as well!

  3. If you wanted to make a connection with Star Trek and other things besides just Shakespeare and somehow tie it in, I recommend you look at Salman Rushdie's "Chekov and Zulu." He is from India.

  4. My husband and I just watched all the new Star Trek movies this weekend so I was really excited about this topic. Okay, that "You haven't read Shakespeare, etc" comment is hilarious and I love it. This is going to be an awesome essay, especially because there is a clear link between the two. I actually noticed that in the 3rd movie (new ones), Spock references Shakespeare. I remember thinking it was funny at the time, and now it is totally relevant. So, you could even tie in the new versions of it, to show that even this has been redone because it plays such a huge part.

    Here's the quote. I found it online. "The miserable have no other medicine but only hope." - Spock to McCoy; quoting Shakespeare.