The Undiscover'd Country
Back to Surfing with the Bard!
Enter the Discussion Zone!

Enter the Plays Zone

Enter the Student Zone

Back to the Teacher Zone

Enter the "Fun with Willy" Zone

Frequently Asked Questions about Surfing with the Bard.

Related Links:

My Convention Photos
Marina Sirtis
James Doohan
Michael Dorn
Grace Lee Whitney
Patrick Stewart

Star Trek

Star Trek: WWW

The Undiscover'd Country

Created by: David Learn
Submitted to: rec.arts.startrek.misc
Date: 1993

Classic Star Trek

  • Dagger of the Mind -- Macbeth 2.1.34-50

    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.

  • The Conscience of the King -- Hamlet 2.2.589-606

    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.

    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 from the play which are duplicated in the episode, such as the troupe of actors. Additionally, many of Shakespeare's characters find analogs in Star Trek. Here is a list of crossovers:

    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 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-screen 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!

    Toward the end of the episode, the Karidian Company of Actors performs Hamlet. Karidian, playing Hamlet's father, has the following lines:

    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...

    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

  • All Our Yesterdays -- Macbeth 5.5.17-28

    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.

  • By Any Other Name -- Romeo and Juliet 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.'"

  • 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 yesterday!

    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.)

  • 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

Star Trek: The Animated Series

  • How Sharper than a Serpent's Tooth -- King Lear 1.4.272-286

    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!

Star Trek movies

  • Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

    McCoy quotes from Hamlet:

    "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

  • Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country -- Hamlet 3.1.77-83

    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.

    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.

    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 [paraphrase]

    - "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 [paraphrase]

    - "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

    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?

Star Trek: The Next Generation

  • Encounter at Farpoint

    Picard says, "Kill all the lawyers!"

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

    -- 2 Henry VI 4.2.74

  • The Naked Now

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

    I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes?
    Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses,
    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

  • Hide and Q

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

    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

  • 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:

    WILLIAMS -- Brother John Bates, is not that the morning which breaks yonder?
    BATES -- I think it be. But we have no great cause to desire the approach of day.
    WILLIAMS -- Who's there?
    KING -- A friend.
    WILLIAMS -- Under what captain serve you?
    KING -- Under Sir Thomas Erpingham.
    WILLIAMS -- I pray you, what thinks he of our estate?
    KING -- Even as men wrack'd upon a sand, that look to be wash'd off the next tide.
    BATES -- He hath not told his thought to the King?
    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 am. The violet smells to him as it doth to me; in his nakedness he appears but a man. 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.
    BATES -- He may show what outward courage he will; but I believe, as cold a night as 'tis, he could wish himself in Thames up to the neck.
    KING -- Methinks I could not die anywhere so contented as in the King's company, his cause being just and his quarrel honorable.
    WILLIAMS -- That's more than we know.
    BATES -- Or more than we should seek after; If his cause be wrong, our obedience to the king wipes the crime of it out of us.
    WILLIAMS -- 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 such a place."
    KING -- 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 it.

  • Sins of the Father -- Merchant of Venice 3.5.1-2

    Yes, truly, for, look you, the sins of the father
    are to be laid upon the children; therefore I promise
    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

  • 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

  • Remember Me -- Hamlet 2.5.89-113

    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.

Star Trek novels

  • 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.

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

    -- Romeo and Juliet 3.1.90-91

  • Perchance to Dream -- Hamlet 3.1.57-69

    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.

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


Unless otherwise noted, all original content 1994-1998 Amy Ulen. All rights reserved.
:-) Click to return to top of page.