Friday, August 2, 2013

Shakespeare In Star Trek 5: Voyager & DS9

Once Star Trek: The Next Generation was finished, the Shakespeare themes, quotes, and titles began to drop off. There are fewer references to the bard in DS9 than in TNG and fewer still in Voyager, with no overt references that I can remember in Enterprise. Still, DS9 had plenty of titles taken from Shakespeare's plays and Voyager pulled from one of Shakespeares most powerful and enduring monologues for one of its strangest and most controversial episodes.

DS9 first:
I love Garak. He's a perfect example of an enemy turned maybe-not-as-much-of-an-enemy-as-he-was-before turned maybe-friend. (All that really seemed more cut and dry in my head--the man is complex) Anyway, when his shop is bombed in Season 3, he gets on a dangerous path which ultimately leads he and Odo to his former mentor.
At the opening of this two-part mini-arc, Garak and Bashir are discussing Julius Cesar. Garak finds it improbable that Cesar, a shrewd leader, wouldn't have foreseen his own murder. Later, Garak's mentor, upon realizing that he's in too deep, asks Garak what happened, how their whole plan fell apart. Garak has been desperate for a way to return to his home, to his former glory, to his friendship with his mentor, Tain. Now, those hopes are dashed. He must choose between his loyalty to Tain and his friendship with those aboard DS9. He replies with a classic (if slightly altered) line from Julius Cesar, "The fault, dear Tain, is in our stars." It's a nice touch.

A short note about Star Trek in Voyager:

The Shakespeary-ist thing I can think of in Voyager is from what could have been a silly/ridiculous episode but instead was one which carried tremendous dramatic weight: Tuvix. The title character is an amalgamation of Tuvok and Neelix--the result of a transporter accident. Janeway is faced with what may be the toughest decision put to any Trek captain--does she effectively kill a member of her crew in order to retrieve those who were lost? In most Treks, the character would willingly go to his death, for the good of the crew. But Tuvix fights it. He is his own man. He does not want to die.
His speech to Janeway is very similar to Shylock's famous monologue in Merchant of Venice:

"Look at me, Captain. When I'm happy, I laugh. When I'm sad, I cry. When I stub my toe, I yell out in pain. I'm flesh and blood, and I have the right to live."

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