Tag Archives: Shakespeare

Star Trek S1E13 – The Conscience of the King

Shakespeare seems to be a common theme in Star Trek, especially The Original Series and The Next Generation. William Shatner did train as a classic Shakespearean actor after all. Well, here is an episode where Shakespeare is on stage, literally.

Season 1, Episode 13: The Conscience of the King

Original Air Date: December 8, 1966

Stardate 2817.6

Planet: Planet Q, Benecia

Featured Alien: None

Main Cast: Kirk, Spock, Uhura, Rand, McCoy

Main Guest Characters: Anton Karidian / Kodos (Arnold Moss), Lenore Karidian (Barbara Anderson), Lt. Kevin Thomas Riley (Bruce Hyde), Dr. Thomas Leighton (William Sargent), Martha Leighton (Natalie Norwick), Lt. Leslie (Eddie Paskey)

Things I Noticed

I find it difficult to believe that there is famine on an Earth/Federation colony at this time. It may be possible, but I’d think it’s highly unlikely.

Odd that Dr. Leighton has half of his face covered by a black fabric. I’m sure cosmetic surgery is so advanced at that time that his original appearance could be restored, including a prosthetic eye that would function normally. Again, I understand this is due to the fact that this episode was made more than 50 years ago.

When Kirk called up information about Kodos and Anton Karidian, the computer made a lot of mechanical clicks. Weird.

Kirk is unusually smooth with Lenore Karidian. But then, this was just an act, I think.

As Kirk was walking on the bridge, it sounded like he was walking on a wood floor. I’m pretty sure it was, being a cheap set.

When Spock said his father’s race (the Vulcans) didn’t drink alcohol, McCoy said now he knows why they were conquered. Since when were the Vulcans conquered? This just confused me.

McCoy refered to Lenore as a creature. A bit of sexism here?

First time we see the observation deck above the shuttle bay. There are windows, too!

I think this is the first time Kirk kisses a woman! In previous episodes, he’s resisted because as a Captain, he’s pretty much married to his ship.

This is the second and final time Riley appears in a Star Trek episode.

The return of the 20th century spray bottle! This time to poison Riley’s milk. And of course, the ugly gelatin food appears again.

They used tape film for recorded audio. That’s not even used today.

McCoy inadvertently let Riley know about Kodos. It seemed rather careless. He was right behind him!

The acting company’s set is made of wood. Maybe they wanted authenticity. Or it’s just the material the Star Trek set designers had to use.

Kirk and Spock compare paper printouts of the Kodos’ and Karidian’s voice prints side-by-side. They actually used their eyes to compare the voice prints! That is an incredibly inefficient way to do it. Use the computer!

Who in their right mind would continue to quote Shakespeare after they’ve killed their father? But then, she did seem crazy.

Leaving Benecia at warp 1. Warp 1 again. Slow!

My Impressions

Way back when I used to watch Star Trek as a teenager, I was never impressed by this episode. I wanted Klingons and Romulans. Not Shakespeare. But after watching this episode as a 40 year old, I have a completely different feeling about it. I like Shakespeare. But that’s not why I like this episode.

I felt that the acting was pretty good in general. Sure, there was overacting by Shatner a bit (the scene with Lenore in the observation deck was a bit over the top) and some extreme overacting by Barbara Anderson as Lenore Karidian, but it was otherwise well done.

One thing I don’t get is why Kirk didn’t just confide in Spock and McCoy that he suspected Karidian of being Kodos. But I guess it’s possible that he didn’t want them to be subjected to disciplinary action if the transport of the Karidian Company was completely against protocol, and that Kirk was just on a wild goose chase.

The story had a decent amount of suspense. Is Karidian actually Kodos? Would Riley be killed? I thought that was done pretty well. Overall, I enjoyed this episode.

Verdict

★★★★

Your Voice

What did you think of this episode? Was Anderson’s portrayal of Lenore over the top? Did you think Karidian regretted what he had done? Let me know in the comments section below.

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Reading Shakespeare with a Speech Jammer

Have you ever used a speech jammer? It’s an app that you can download onto a smartphone that will delay the playback of your voice by a split second. It’s supposed to mess with your speech, making you sound drunk. So, I decided to try it out while reading Shakespeare!

I found that if the delay was too long, it didn’t affect me. If it was too short, it also didn’t affect me. But I found a good delay that really affected me. And this video is the result. Just a warning, I sound like an idiot.

As you can see, I did some tongue twisters, as well. They were difficult! If you’re adventurous, I’d love to see some of you trying it out on video. I’d also love to see some comments.

Shakespeare Is Fun

I enjoy Shakespeare. When I was in high school, we read one Shakespearean play every year, and I found that I actually liked it. I started reading Shakespeare again a couple years ago with Macbeth. I’m now reading the first “new” Shakespeare to me, Julius Caesar. I haven’t read very much at all.

So, I’d like to know a couple things. First, do you like Shakespeare? If you do, then which play is your favourite? Let me know in the comments below.

My answer is Hamlet, so far.

Book Review – Macbeth

macbethMacbeth, one of William Shakespeare’s most famous tragic plays, is a quick read despite being in Early Modern English. It’s also one of his shortest plays. It’s not easy to read this kind of English, so it makes it difficult to review.

The story is a simple one of lust for power and seemingly endless murder. Macbeth, one of King Duncan’s most trusted noblemen in Scotland, is driven by Lady Macbeth and the witches to put himself into power.  I could tell from the beginning that it was doomed to fail, as this is a tragic play.  There is no happy ending.  However, it is reasonably entertaining, being one of my favourite Shakespearean plays.  I first read this in high school about 20 years ago, so it was interesting to see what I could remember.  It was shorter than I remember. Nevertheless, it felt fresh and I could read it with a new, more mature perspective.

Most characters are quite unlikeable. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth may be the protagonists, but who wants to see them succeed? I thought Macduff was the easiest to like, though Ross was also a good guy.  The three witches provided memorable quotes, though they appeared less than I remembered.  The single-mindedness of Macbeth, and especially Lady Macbeth, showed an incredible amount of obsessive ambition.  I would hope to never meet anyone like them.

As this is a play, it reads very differently than a novel.  There is next to no narration, and is all dialogue and stage directions.  However, it’s easy to follow, and the footnotes aid in understanding Early Modern English.  The version I read, Signet Classic, has more than 200 pages, but the play is less than 100. There’s a lot of information about Shakespeare and the play.

Overall, I give this 4 stars.  It’s a great classic, and is an interesting insight into Shakespeare’s linguistic ability, as well as what was considered entertainment in the early 17th century.  Definitely recommended if you can understand it.

Out, Damned Poll! Out, I say!

Yes, the Shakespeare poll has been closed and if you’ve noticed the title of this post, the winner is Macbeth!  It will now go in my blank spot for my reading order.  So, the updated order is:

  1. A Game of Thrones – George R.R. Martin (Currently reading, almost finished)
  2. Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card
  3. Gardens of the Moon – Steven Erikson
  4. Revelation Space – Alastair Reynolds
  5. Guards Guards – Terry Pratchett
  6. The Reality Dysfunction Part 1: Emergence – Peter F. Hamilton
  7. The Silmarillion – J.R.R. Tolkien
  8. Dune – Frank Herbert
  9. His Majesty’s Dragon – Naomi Novik
  10. The Restaurant at the End of the Universe – Douglas Adams
  11. Macbeth – William Shakespeare
  12. Ringworld – Larry Niven

Which Shakespearean play should I read?

Having talked about why I like Shakespeare, I thought I may as well make a poll about which Shakespearean play I should read first.  So, below are the plays that I have.  Please vote!

Why do I like Shakespeare?

I was never a big fan of reading the classics in high school English. I think it had to do with teachers having their own opinion about the meaning of books and their insistence that they were correct. Well, I still enjoyed Shakespeare.

In high school, we read Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, and Hamlet. They are all filled with incredibly insane people creating a lot of drama, of course. But is that why I like it? No, I like it partly because it’s historical drama. It gives me an insight to what people at the time were thinking. But Shakespeare is very interesting. It wouldn’t reflect the reality of the time. So much of it is over the top. But that’s what it’s supposed to be, as it’s supposed to entertain the audience. I also like it because of the language. It’s fascinating trying to decipher the English of the time. It resembles modern English, but so many of the words and expressions are different and many common words are used differently. It’s great exercise for the brain!

I hope to read all that he’s written in the future.