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"taH pagh taHbe'!" ("To be or not to be!")


From the book jacket
For too long, readers throughout the Federation have been exposed to The Tragedy of Khamlet, Son of the Emperor of Qo'noS, that classic work of Klingon literature, only through inadequate and misleading English translations. Now at last, thanks to the tireless efforts of the Klingon Language Institute, this powerful drama by the legendary Klingon playwright, Wil'yam Shex'pir, can be appreciated in the elegance and glory of its original tongue.
This invaluable volume contains the complete text of the play, along with an English translation for easy consultation and comparison. In addition, an incisive introduction explains the play's crucial importance in Klingon culture, while copious notes illustrate how the debased English version diverges from the original, often distorting and even reversing the actual meaning of the verses.
Khamlet, the Restored Klingon Version, is a work that belongs in the library of every Human who hopes truly to understand what it means to be Klingon.

Memorable quotes[]

Excerpts of copyrighted sources are included for review purposes only, without any intention of infringement.

Sonnet #18[]

"Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?" (English)

qaDelmeH bov tuj pem vIlo'choHQo'.
SoH 'IH 'ej belmoH law', 'oH belmoH puS.
jar vagh tIpuq DIHo'bogh Sang SuS ro'.
'ej ratlhtaHmeH bov tuj leSpoH luvuS.

rut tujqu' bochtaHvIS chal mIn Dun qu'.
rut DotlhDaj SuD wov HurghmoHmeH, HuvHa'.
'ej reH Hoch 'IHvo' Sab Hoch 'IH, net tu'.
'u' He choHmo', San jochmo' joq quvHa'.

'ach not wovHa'choH jubbogh bovlIj tuj,
'ej not ghomHa'choH Hochvetlh 'IH Daghajbogh,
'ej "QIbwIjDaq bIleng" not mIy Hegh nuj,
bovmey DaDontaHvIS, DojwI' nIHajbogh!

tlhuHlaH 'ej legh, wej 'e' lumevchugh nuv,
vaj yIntaH bomvam, 'ej DuyInmoH quv.
Translated by Nick Nicholas, KLI, 1994.

Act 3, Scene 1[]

"To be, or not to be..." (English)

taH pagh taHbe'. DaH mu'tlheghvam vIqelnIS.
quv'a', yabDaq San vaQ cha, pu' je SIQDI'?
pagh, Seng bIQ'a'Hey SuvmeH nuHmey SuqDI',
'ej, Suvmo', rInmoHDI'? Hegh. Qong --- Qong neH ---
'ej QongDI', tIq 'oy', wa'SanID Daw''e' je
cho'nISbogh porghDaj rInmoHlaH net Har.
Translated by Nick Nicholas & Andrew Strader, KLI, 1995.

Background information[]

  • In Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Chancellor Gorkon says, "You have never experienced Shakespeare until you have read him in the original Klingon." This line inspired Klingon Language Institute, a fan group dedicated to the Klingon language, to initiate the Klingon Shakespeare Restoration Project, in which several members attempted to translate works by William Shakespeare into Klingon.
  • Translating the play took Nicholas and Strader about two years. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 12, p. 83)
  • These efforts resulted in Hamlet, Prince of Denmark: The Restored Klingon Version, which was completed by Nick Nicholas and Andrew Strader and published in a hardback limited edition of 1,026 copies by the KLI. Twenty-six were specially bound and lettered from A to ' in Klingon script. The remaining 1,000 copies were individually numbered by hand. All were smyth-sewn, case bound, and printed on acid free, recycled, 60# paper. It was later reprinted by Pocket Books as The Klingon Hamlet in February 2000, with a few changes and additional appendices.
  • The full title is The Tragedy of Khamlet, Son of the Emperor of Qo'nos.


tlhaw'DIyuS, Qo'noS ta' ghaH
Claudius, King of Denmark
Khamlet, ben ta' puqloD; DaHjaj ta' loDnl'puqloD je ghaH
Hamlet, son to the late, and nephew to the present king
polonyuS, Qang ghaH
Polonius, Lord Chamberlain
Horey'So, Hamlet jup ghaH
Horatio, friend to Hamlet
wa' 'utlh
A Gentleman
wa' lalDanyaS
A Priest;
veranchISqo, mang ghaH
Francisco, a soldier
reynalDo, polonyuS toy'wI' ghaH
Reynaldo, servant to Polonius
vagh DawI'pu'
Five Players
cha' tlhaQwl'; molwl' Da
Two Clowns, grave diggers
vortIbras, DuraS tuq pln be'nI'puqloD ghaH
Fortinbras, prince of Norway
wa' HoD
A Captain
tera' Duypu'
English Ambassadors
wa' yaS
A Lord
wa' mang
A Soldier
cha' Qumwl'
Two Messengers
Horey'So wa' toy'wI'
A Servant to Horatio
Hamlet vav lomqa'
Ghost of Hamlet's Father
GhertlhuD, Qo'noS ta'be', Hamlet SoS je ghaH
Gertrude, queen of Denmark, and mother to Hamlet
'ovelya, polonyuS puqbe' ghaH
Ophelia, daughter to Polonius
jawloDpu', jawbe'pu', yaSpu', mangpu', yo'mangpu' latlh toy'wI'pu' je; jatlhbe' chaH
Non-speaking: Lords, Ladies, Officers, Soldiers, Sailors, and other Attendants

External link[]