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Data as Prospero

For the DS9 novel, please see The Tempest (novel).

The Tempest was one of the final plays written by the renowned Human playwright William Shakespeare. The play includes the characters of Prospero, the deposed Duke of Milan, banished by his brother to a distant island, who has since become a powerful magician, and Miranda, Prospero's daughter, who was raised by Prospero on the island.

In 2268, Kollos, mind-linked with Spock, referenced the play when first seeing Miranda Jones through humanoid eyes, saying "O brave new world / that has such creatures in't." Jones replied with the play's next line, "Tis new to thee." (TOS: "Is There in Truth No Beauty?")

In 2293, Gorkon used the play's phrase "brave new world" in speaking to Kirk. Also, General Chang quoted the play's line "Our revels now are ended" while his Bird-of-Prey attacked the USS Enterprise-A over Khitomer. (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country)

In 2370, Data performed scenes from The Tempest on the USS Enterprise-D holodeck. Captain Jean-Luc Picard found the performance lacking because Data had so meticulously portrayed Prospero's island in the dark of night that Picard could barely see Data. Data responded by ordering the holodeck to increase the torch illumination to a more acceptable level. Later, Data invited Picard to attend his performance of the play's scene wherein Miranda first encounters outsiders, to which Picard responded by quoting the play's line "O brave new world, that has such people in it." (TNG: "Emergence")

In 2380, Beckett Mariner quoted two lines from the play, "Hell is empty and all the devils are here / Our revels now are ended", while playing the villain of her holodeck movie, Crisis Point: The Rise of Vindicta. (LD: "Crisis Point")

In 2399, as Jean-Luc Picard terminated the quantum simulation containing Data's consciousness, he quoted from The Tempest: "We are such stuff / As dreams are made on, and our little life / Is rounded with a sleep." (PIC: "Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2")


Background information

The titles of DS9: "Past Prologue" and DIS: "What's Past Is Prologue" reference a quotation from The Tempest: "And by that destiny to perform an act / Whereof what’s past is prologue."

According to the Star Trek Encyclopedia (3rd ed., p. 502), The Tempest was written in 1611.

Rene Auberjonois once likened the Star Trek: Enterprise episode "Oasis" to The Tempest. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 139, p. 39)

The Tempest was a partial inspiration for the classic science fiction film Forbidden Planet, which in turn has been cited as among Gene Roddenberry's inspirations for Star Trek. However, in the 1970s when a reporter asked about Forbidden Planet's influence, Roddenberry replied "Definitely not...the only time I ever thought of Forbidden Planet specifically when I was laying Star Trek out was when I said to myself that here were some mistakes they made in the film that I did not want to repeat." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 9) Nonetheless, Roddenberry's authorized biography Star Trek Creator: The Authorized Biography of Gene Roddenberry (p. 202) includes a 1964 memo from Roddenberry to Herb Solow mentioning having seen Forbidden Planet and suggesting that Pato Guzman might study the film to stimulate thought while they were sketching and planning their own designs.

Several Star Trek actors have appeared in productions of The Tempest. For example, from 28 July through 12 October 2006, Patrick Stewart played Prospero in Royal Shakespeare Company's production of the play. Also, Avery Brooks portrayed Caliban in productions of the play in the 1980s. [1]

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