Sunday, April 23, 2023

'The Klingon Hamlet' and Klingons quoting Shakespeare for Talk Like Shakespeare Day

Happy Shakespeare's Birthday! For today's celebration, I'm returning to the conclusion of last year's Phantom Regiment's 'Juliet' for Shakespeare's Birthday: "[N]ext year I might examine Shakespeare in Star Trek. "The Klingon Hamlet," anyone?" That makes a perfect subject for the Sunday entertainment feature, so I'm using it today.

Stephen Fry acted in "The Klingon Hamlet," which BBC Studios featured in Can Klingon Be Accepted As A Language? - Stephen Fry's Planet Word from 2015.

One of the newest languages on the planet is Klingon, whi[l]st performing a Klingon version of Hamlet Stephen Fry meets a father who taught his son Klingon as his first language.
Fry makes an important point; communication with the outside world is what determines whether a language lives or dies. Who speaks Klingon? A subset of "Star Trek" fans. Given the size of "Star Trek" fandom, that may be more than one might expect, but it's still not much of the outside world.

Like much of "Star Trek" lore, a throwaway line or two inspired "The Klingon Hamlet." Watch Shakespeare in the original Klingon for that scene.

"You've not experienced Shakespeare until you have read him in the original Klingon."

Quote from Chancellor Gorkon (played by David Warner), from "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country."
Remember that this movie is an allegory about the end of the Cold War with the Klingons playing the role of the USSR, which they had done since the original TV series. One of the things the Soviets did was to claim the West's inventions and achievements as their own, and I took this scene as a satirical reference to that. It's not far off; a skim through the results of a search for "Soviet Shakespeare" showed that Shakespeare was popular during the Soviet era and the Soviets adopted him as one of their cultural icons.

The Shakespeare quotes continued in the movie. Watch Star Trek VI: Shakespeare Quotes.

The Shakespearean quotes from General Chang's assault in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. The [sources] have been cited.
The video missed "Have we not heard the chimes at midnight" ("Henry IV, Part II") and "Parting is such sweet sorrow" ("Romeo and Juliet"), but those were not as dramatic. Otherwise, I think these are great clips.

Of course, the biggest quoter of Shakespeare in "Star Trek" is Jean-Luc Picard, played by Shakespearean actor Patrick Stewart. I might examine his use of the Bard of Stratford next year. In the meantime, stay tuned for an update on Bed Bath & Beyond facing bankruptcy, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse.

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