Dec 232017
Uses of Shakespeare in Star Trek.
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This is a list of all the references to Shakespeare within the
episodes, movies, and books of the Star Trek genre. The goal of
this post is to enhance the occasional threads which appear
discussing the allusions to Shakespeare in Star Trek. This
posting appears monthly.

Note: Only deliberate references to Shakespeare are listed below.
For example, "wink of an eye" is found in The Winter's Tale,
5.2. 112, but seems to have no bearing on the episode "Wink of an

References to Shakespeare in Classic Star Trek:

1. Dagger of the Mind Macbeth 2.1.39

Surrounding Text:

Is this a dagger which I see before me,
The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee.
I have thee not, and yet I see thee still.
Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible
To feeling as to sight? Or art thou but
A dagger of the mind, a false creation,
Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain?
I see thee yet, in form as palpable
As this which now I draw.
Thou marshall'st me the way that I was going,
And such an instrument I was to use.
Mine eyes are made the fools o' th' other senses,
Or else worth all the rest. I see thee still,
And on thy blade and dudgeon gouts of blood,
Which was not so before. There's no such thing.
It is the bloody business which informs
Thus to mine eyes.

Macbeth 2.1.34-50

2. The Conscience of the King Hamlet 2.2.606

Surrounding Text:

Hum, I have heard
That guilty creatures sitting at a play
Have by the very cunning of the scene
Been struck so to the soul that presently
They have proclaimed their malefactions;
For murder, though it have no tongue, will speak
With most miraculous organ. I'll have these players
Play something like the murder of my father
Before mine uncle. I'll observe his looks;
I'll tent him to the quick. If 'a do blench,
I know my course. The spirit that I have seen
May be the devil, and the devil hath power
T'assume a pleasing shape; yea, and perhaps
Out of my weakness and my melancholy,
As he is very potent with such spirits,
Abuses me to damn me. I'll have grounds
More relative than this. The play's the thing
Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king.

Hamlet 2.2.589-605

"The Conscience of the King," as its title would indicate,
is based largely on _Hamlet_. The basic plot is similar, and
there are many plot devices which are duplicated in the episode
from the play, such as the troupe of actors. Additionally, many
of Shakespeare's characters find analogs in Star Trek. Here is a
list of crossovers (as I see them):

Hamlet --> Kirk
Claudius --> Karidian (Kodos)
Ophelia --> Lenore
Ghost of Hamlet's Father --> Tom Leighton

This is not a comprehensive list, obviously.

The episode also contains several themes lifted from
Macbeth, as one would expect since the episode opens with a scene
from an "Arcturian Macbeth." The analogs (again, as I see them)
are this:

Macbeth --> Karidian
Lady Macbeth --> Lenore
Macduff --> Kirk

At the beginning of the episode, Kirk and Doctor Leighton
watch the Karidian Company of Actors perform a scene supposedly
from Macbeth. The on-stage dialogue goes something like this:

Lady Macbeth: Is he dead? Speak. Is King Duncan dead?
Macbeth: O great Neptune's ocean, wash this blood clean
from my hands!
How is it . . . Blot out mine eyes!

To my knowledge, this is not from any part of Macbeth.

Toward the end of the episode, the Karidian Company of
Actors performs Hamlet. Karidian, playing Hamlet's father, has
the following lines (brackets indicate lines Shakespeare
includes but Karidian does not):

I am thy father's spirit,
Doomed for a certain term to walk the night,
And for the day confined to fast in fires,
Till foul crimes done in my days of nature
Are burnt and purged away. But that I am forbid
To tell the secrets of my prison-house,
I could a tale unfold whose lightest word
Would harrow up thy soul, freeze thy young blood,
[Make thy two eyes, like stars, start from their spheres,
Thy knotted and combined locks to part,
And each particular hair to stand an end,
Like quills upon the fearful porpentine.
But this eternal blazon must not be
To ears of flesh and blood.
List, list, O, list!
If thou didst ever thy dear father love --

Hamlet 1.5.10-24

Lenore later quotes the Soothsayer in Julius Caesar:

Caesar, beware the Ides of March.

Julius Caesar 1.2.18 & 23

And then paraphrases Fortinbras, after killing Karidian:

O proud Death,
What feast is stored in thine eternal cell,
That thou such a noble prince at a shot
So bloodily hast struck?

Fortinbras' dialogue goes like this:

O proud death,
What feast is stored in thine eternal cell,
That thou so many princes at a shot
So bloodily hast struck?

Hamlet 5.2.36-63

3. All Our Yesterdays Macbeth 5.5.22

Surrounding Text:

She should have died hereafter;
There would have been time for such a word.
Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

Macbeth 5.5.17-28

4. By Any Other Name Not a Shakespeare reference

What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other word would smell as sweet.

Romeo and Juliet 2.2.43-44

Kirk makes additional reference while talking with a woman
as he holds out a rose-like flower and says, "As the Earth
poet Shakespeare wrote, `That which we call a rose by any
other name would smell as sweet.'"

I have never seen this episode, so if you have any
comments, please tell me.

5. Whom Gods Destroy

Marta quotes Shakespeare's eighteenth sonnet:

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 sometimes declines,
By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd.
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st;
Nor shall Death brag thou wand'rest in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st.
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this and this gives life to thee.

Sonnet 18

The ensuing dialogue goes thusly:

Garth: You wrote that!?
Marta: Yesterday, as a matter of fact.
Garth: It was written by an Earthman named Shakespeare a
long time ago.
Marta: Which does not alter the fact that I wrote it again

Perhaps this is an allusion to the Elizabethan practice of
rewriting pre-existing poems and stories, using huge amounts of
the same text? (It was considered bad writing not to.)

6. Elaan of Troyius

The plot for this episode was taken from _The Taming of the
Shrew_. As with "The Conscience of the King," some of
Shakespeare's characters find analogs within the episode:

Petruchio --> Kirk
Katherine --> Elaan

References to Shakespeare in Star Trek: The Animated Series:

1. How Sharper than a Serpent's Tooth King Lear 1.4.285

Surrounding Text:

Hear, Nature; hear, dear goddess, hear!
Suspend thy purpose, if thou didst intend
To make this creature fruitful!
Into her womb convey sterility;
Dry up in her the organs of increase,
And from her derogate body never spring
A babe to honor her! If she must teem,
Create her child of spleen, that it may live
And be a thwart disnatur'd torment to her!
Let it stamp wrinkles in her brow of youth,
With cadent tears fret channels in her cheeks,
Turn all her mother's pains and benefits

To laughter and contempt, that she may feel
How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is
To have a thankless child!

King Lear 1.4.272-286

References to Shakespeare in the Star Trek movies:

1. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

McCoy quotes from Hamlet 1.4.39:

Angels and ministers of grace, defend us!

The text goes on to add:

Be thou a spirit of health or goblin damn'd,
Bring with thee airs from heaven or blasts from hell,
Be thy intents wicked or charitable,
Thou com'st in such a questionable shape
That I will speak to thee. I'll call thee Hamlet,
King, father, royal Dane. O, answer me!
Let me not burst in ignorance; but tell
Why thy canoniz'd bones, hearsed in death,
Have burst their cerements; why the sepulcher
Wherein we saw thee quietly interr'd
Hath op'd his ponderous and marble jaws
To cast thee up again. What may this mean,
That thou, dead corse, again in complete steel
Revisits thus the glimpses of the moon,
Making night hideous, and we fools of nature
So horridly to shake our disposition
With thoughts beyond the reaches of our souls?
Say, why is this? Wherefore? What should we do?

Hamlet 1.4.40-57

2. Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
Hamlet 3.1.80

Surrounding Text:

To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them. To die, to sleep--
No more--and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to. 'Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep;
To sleep, perchance to dream. Ay, there's the rub,
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause. There's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life.
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
Th' oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of despis'd love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of th' unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? Who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscover'd country from whose bourn
No traveler returns, puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolutions
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.

Hamlet 3.1.77-83

Note: a "fardle" is a burden.

In addition to the title of the movie, the following make
further reference to Hamlet's soliloquy:

Chancellor Gorkon
- When he toasts to "The undiscovered country."

General Chang
- Just before the photon torpedo hits his ship

Many have criticized the movie's use of "the undiscovered
country" in applying it to the future rather than death.
Yet change is death--the death of that which is familiar to
us. Like Hamlet, Kirk asks himself, "To be or not to be."
If the Federation allies itself with the Klingon Empire,
it will be the death of the universe as he knows it. It
could, in fact, be disastrous: "ills that we know not of"
might await the Federation should peace be made. The
undiscovered country could be too agonizing, so it is safer
to cling on to the "ills we have, [rather] than fly to
others that we know not of."
Of course, the undiscovered country may also be
wonderful beyond description. That is the dilemma Hamlet
faced, and it is also the dilemma which Kirk faces, though
(like Hamlet) Kirk does not face this possibility for some
time, preferring to cling on to the familiar ills of war
and hatred.
As viewers, we are quite aware of just what lies in
the undiscovered country Kirk was so afraid of. We have
seen the next generation of explorers (even if they never
explore anything). I find it amusing that the "ills we
know not of" happen to be seen weekly as Star Trek: The
Next Generation. A part of me just can't help but wonder
if that dig was intentional.

Further references to Shakespeare

As the Klingons leave the Enterprise, Chang says:
- "Parting is such sweet sorrow." Romeo and Juliet 2.2.184
- "Have we not heard the chimes at midnight?"
2 Henry IV 3.2.212 [paraphrase]

During the trial scene, Chang says:
- "Let us sit upon the ground
And tell sad stories of the death of kings:
Richard II 3.2.155-56

And during the final show-down, Chang says:

- "Once more into the breach, dear friends." Henry V 3.1.1

- "There's a divinity that shapes our ends
Rough-hew them how we will--" Hamlet 5.2.10-11

- "This above all: to thine own self be true."
Hamlet 1.3.78

- "If you have tears, prepare to shed them now."
Julius Caesar 3.2.168

- "How long will a man lie in space ere he rot?"
Hamlet 5.1.163

- "Our revels now are ended." The Tempest 3.1.148

- "Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles . . ."
Hamlet 3.1.58-60

- "Hath not a Klingon hands, organs . . .
affections, passions? Tickle us, do we not
laugh? Prick us, do we not bleed? Wrong us,
shall we not revenge?" Merchant of Venice 3.1.56-63

- "I am constant as the northern star."
Julius Caesar 3.1.60

- "The game's afoot." Henry V 3.1.32

- "Cry 'havoc!' and let slip the dogs of war."
Julius Caesar 3.1.274

- "To be or not to be." Hamlet 3.1.57

[Whew! Sure was a blabber-mouth, wasn't he?]

Note: if I receive enough requests, I will consider posting
the context for these references as well. Also, if anyone
can confirm for me that Chang did indeed say these things
as listed above, I would be grateful. I relied on the
novel by J.M. Dillard for most of these, and the novels
aren't 100% faithful.

Chang also claims that Shakespeare is best understood when
read in the original Klingon. Anyone have a .gif of what

the Bard would look like with a bony forehead?

References to Shakespeare in Star Trek: The Next Generation:

1. Encounter at Farpoint

Picard says, "Kill all the lawyers!"

The reference is 2 Henry VI 4.2.74:

The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.

2 Henry VI 4.2.74

2. The Naked Now

Data says, "When you prick me do I not . . . leak?"

The reference is to Merchant of Venice 3.1.60-61:

I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew
eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, sen-
ses, affections, passions? Fed with the same food, hurt
with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases,
heal'd by the same means, warm'd and cool'd by the
same winter and summer, as a Christian is? If you
prick us, do we not bleed?

Merchant of Venice 3.1.55-61

3. Hide and Q

Q says, "All the galaxy's a stage," to which Picard
"World, not galaxy, all the world's a stage."

The reference is As You Like It 2.7.

The passage adds:

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven stages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.
Then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon's mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lin'd,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper'd pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
His youthful hose, well sav'd, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans everything.

As You Like It 2.7.139-65

Later on in the episode, Picard says, "Oh, I know Hamlet,
and what he might say with irony, I say with conviction:

What a piece of work is
man! How noble in reason, how infinite in faculties,
in form and moving how express and admirable, in
action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a

Hamlet 2.2.304-308

4. The Defector

While on the holodeck, Data performs a scene from Henry V,
when the King mingles with his troops shortly before the Battle
of Agincourt.
Originally written for the King and three soldiers (Court,
Williams, and Bates), the author of the episode combined Court
and Williams into one role, represented here as Williams.
Williams, incidentally, was played by Shakespearean actor Patrick
Stewart. Here is the text used in "The Defector," courtesy of
Pat Berry (line markation is noted when text is cut):

84 Brother John Bates, is not that the morning which
breaks yonder?

I think it be. But we have no great cause to desire
87 the approach of day.

89 Who's there?

A friend.

Under what captain serve you?

Under Sir Thomas Erpingham.

pray you, what thinks he of our estate?

Even as men wrack'd upon a sand, that look to be
wash'd off the next tide.

He hath not told his thought to the King?

No, nor it is not meet he should. For, though I
speak it to you, I think the King is but a man, as I
100 am. The violet smells to him as it doth to me;
103 in his nakedness he appears but a man.
106 Therefore,
his fears, out of doubt, be of the same relish
as ours are. Yet, no man should possess
him with any appearance of fear, lest he, by showing
it, should dishearten his army.

He may show what outward courage he will; but I
believe, as cold a night as 'tis, he could wish himself
113 in Thames up to the neck.

124 Methinks I could not die anywhere so
contented as in the King's company, his cause being
just and his quarrel honorable.

That's more than we know.

128 Or more than we should seek after;
130 If
his cause be wrong, our obedience to the king wipes
the crime of it out of us.

But if the cause be not good, the King himself hath
a heavy reckoning to make, when all those legs and
arms and heads, chopp'd off in a battle, shall join
together at the latter day and cry all, "We died at
136 such a place."

154 The King is not
bound to answer the particular endings of his
soldiers, the father of his son, nor the master of
his servant.

Henry V 4.1.84-157

Later in the episode, Picard quotes from Williams' speech:

Now, if these men do not die well, it
will be a black matter for the King that led them to

Henry V 4.1.142-144

5. Sins of the Father Merchant of Venice 3.5.1-2

Surrounding Text:

Yes, truly, for, look you, the sins of the fa-
ther are to be laid upon the children; therefore I prom-
ise you, I fear you. I was always plain with you, and
so now I speak my agitation of the matter. Therefore
be o' good cheer, for truly I think you are damn'd.
There is but one hope in it that can do you any good,
and that is but a kind of bastard hope neither.

Merchant of Venice 3.5.1-7

6. Menage a Troi

Picard sets about wooing Lwaxana Troi back from Daimon Tog.
In the process, he delivers a Shakespeare mish-mash that
would make the Duke of _Huckleberry Finn_ proud:

My love is a fever, longing still for that which
longer nurseth the disease.
{Sonnet 147}

In faith, I do not love thee with mine eyes,
For they in thee a thousand errors see.
But 'tis my heart that loves what they despise,
Who in despite of view are pleased to dote.
{Sonnet 141}

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
{Sonnet 18}

Let me not... [Tog and Lwaxana drown Picard out.]
{Sonnet 116}

When I have plucked the rose,
I cannot give it vital growth again.
It needs must wither.
{Othello 5.2.13-15}

'Tis better to have loved and lost,
than never to have loved at all!
{Not a Shakespeare reference}

Note: If I receive enough requests, I will post the context
for these references as well.

7. Remember Me Hamlet 2.5.89-92 & 111-113

Fare thee well at once.
The glow worm shows the matin to be near,
And 'gins to pale his uneffectual fire.
Adieu, adieu, adieu! Remember me.

O all you host of heaven! O earth! What else?
And shall I couple hell? O, fie! Hold, hold, my heart,
And you, my sinews, grow not instant old,
But bear me stiffly up. Remember thee!
Ay, thou poor ghost, whiles memory holds a seat
In this distracted globe. Remember thee!
Yea, from the table of my memory
I'll wipe away all trivial fond records,
All saws of books, all forms, all pressures past
That youth and observation copied there,
And thy commandment all alone shall live
Within the book and volume of my brain,
Unmix'd with baser matter. Yes, by heaven!
O, most pernicious woman!
O villain, villain, smiling, damned villain!
My tables--meet it is I set it down,
That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain.
At least I am sure it may be so in Denmark.
So, uncle, there you are. Now to my word;
It is "Adieu, adieu! Remember me."
I have sworn 't.

Hamlet 1.5.89-113

References to Shakespeare in the Star Trek novels:

1. Q-in-Law

There are references a'plenty to _Romeo and Juliet_ in
this one, with at least one quote I caught. After the
aborted battle, Picard says, "A plague on both your
houses!" Don't expect this to shed any light on the
book since the guy who says this is Mercutio, and he
dies a few minutes later. (That we should be so lucky
with Picard.) 🙂

A plague o' both your houses! I am sped.
Is he gone, and hath nothing?

Romeo and Juliet 3.1.90-91

See what I mean? Absolutely no light bulbs come on
with this one.

2. Perchance to Dream Hamlet 3.1.66

To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them. To die, to sleep--
No more--and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to. 'Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep;
To sleep, perchance to dream. Ay, there's the rub,
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause.

Hamlet 3.1.57-69

Miscellaneous Shakespeareana related to Star Trek

Both William Shatner and Patrick Stewart were trained as
Shakespearean actors. The problem with Shatner's acting is that
he apparently has never made the transition in style from stage
acting to television acting. His overacting and wild motions
work fine on stage, just not as well on a TV set where the camera
picks up every move much better. Patrick Stewart had the same
problem during the first season, as I remember.

Patrick Stewart did a stint with the Royal Shakespeare Company,
and has also done productions of Shakespeare and led acting
workshops with a Univ. of California-based acting troupe known as
ACTER, of which he remains an executive member. Stewart also
appeared in a number of the BBC productions, including The
Merchant of Venice and Hamlet. Chances are, a good library would
have videotapes of these. A few of the crummier ones may also
have copies.

Patrick Stewart has also appeared for several summers on the
UC Santa Cruz campus with the Shakespeare Santa Cruz group.
(Thanks to Susan Stockwell for this info.)

Patrick Stewart played Shylock in a 1978 Royal Shakespeare
Company production of The Merchant of Venice at The Other Place.
He wrote an essay on the production which can be found in Players
of Shakespeare, edited by Philip Brockbank.

Gene Roddenberry was a Shakespeare fan.

William Shakespeare was a Roddenberry fan.

The character Captain Picard is a Shakespeare fan, probably due
to Stewart's own enthusiasm for the Bard.

General Chang, the Shakespeare-quoting Klingon from Star Trek VI,
was played by Christopher Plummer. Plummer is an accomplished
Shakespearean actor. He played Macbeth in a 1988 Broadway
production of the play.

William Shatner holds Sir Laurence Olivier as his favorite
performer because of the late actor's technical skill and ability
to project emotion. Olivier continues to be revered as the
greatest modern Shakespearean actor.

All Shakespeare quotes are taken from _The Complete Works of
Shakespeare_, edited by David Bevington, third edition.

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