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Titania, Bottom and the Fairies

Titania, Bottom and the Fairies by Henri Fuseli

A Midsummer Night's Dream was a play written by William Shakespeare in the 16th century.

Captain Picard's edition of The Globe Illustrated Shakespeare: The Complete Works featured an illustration by Henri Fuseli called Titania, Bottom and the Fairies which depicted Titania and Nick Bottom – turned into a donkey – both characters from the play. This book was on display in the captain's ready room aboard the USS Enterprise-D in 2366. (TNG: "The Offspring", "Sins of The Father")

Starting in 2367 and continuing into 2369, on and off, two other pages from the play were on display in the ready room. (TNG: "Data's Day", "Clues", "Galaxy's Child", "The Nth Degree", "The Drumhead", "The Host", "The Game", "New Ground", "The Outcast", "Cause And Effect", "The First Duty", "I Borg", "Time's Arrow", "Relics", "Rascals", "Suspicions")

In the latter year, these same two pages were on display in Data's quarters. (TNG: "Inheritance") On these two pages, there were photographs of Olivia de Havilland as Hermia in the American film adaptation of the play from 1934 and Robert Helpmann as Oberon in the Old Vic production of the play from 1958. Two other pages were on display in the ready room in 2367 and 2370. These pages contained two 18th century illustrations, plus an illustration from the early 20th century. (TNG: "The Wounded", "Devil's Due", "Interface")

When an away team from the USS Enterprise-D was trapped in 1893 San Francisco, the team members claimed to be actors having performed A Midsummer Night's Dream in Milan, London, and Paris. Data played Puck, Doctor Crusher a fairy, Riker played Oberon, and Mrs. Carmichael was to be Titania. (TNG: "Time's Arrow, Part II")

Together with several other works by William Shakespeare and his edition of The Globe Illustrated Shakespeare: The Complete Works, retired admiral Jean-Luc Picard kept a copy of the play in his section of the quantum archive at the Starfleet Archive Museum. (PIC: "Remembrance")


Background information[]

The identification of this illustration was made by Jörg Hillebrand and Bernd Schneider for Ex Astris Scientia. [1]

The titles of the books seen in Picard's quantum archive were not legible in the episode, the bundle of books was seen up close in TRR: "Remembrance", however.

Several plot elements from A Midsummer Night's Dream were incorporated into the teleplay of DS9: "Fascination". (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 193)

Rene Auberjonois commented "You can take A Midsummer Night's Dream and say Sisko will be Oberon, Kira will be Titania, and Quark will be Bottom". ("Beneath the Mask", Star Trek Monthly issue 12

Mendelssohn's "Wedding March", used in VOY: "Course: Oblivion", was composed for his adaptation of A Midsummer Night's Dream.

The play was mentioned twice in letters found in the Picard family album. One letter invited Picard to an adaptation which set the story in the Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen. The other quoted the play in relation to the celebration of four hundred years since the first landing on the Moon.

It was noted, in the Star Trek Encyclopedia, 4th ed., vol. 2, p. 41, that this play was written in 1595.

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