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A copy of King Lear (far right) aboard the SS Botany Bay

King Lear was a drama written by William Shakespeare during the early 17th century.

James T. Kirk quoted from King Lear in 2270, after telling Kukulkan that his assistance to mankind was not required, by stating the lines from Act I scene IV: "How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is / To have a thankless child!" (TAS: "How Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth")

A copy of King Lear was among the small collection of books in Khan Noonien Singh's possession on Ceti Alpha V, salvaged from the SS Botany Bay, in 2285. (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan)

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 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.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine star Avery Brooks has often played the title role in productions of the play by the Shakespeare Theatre Company.

In 2002, Star Trek: The Next Generation star Patrick Stewart portrayed Lear in a modernized TV movie adaptation of the play, entitled King of Texas, which also featured Colm Meaney and Richard Lineback. Stewart (alongside his wife, Wendy Neuss) also served as executive producer on the project.

Early drafts of Star Trek: Insurrection had Picard distract Data in the Federation mission scoutship by quoting from King Lear. It was Patrick Stewart who suggested using Gilbert and Sullivan instead. (Fade In: From Idea to Final Draft)

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