The Klingon Hamlet
Simon and Schuster, 2001 M05 19 - 240 pages
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.
From inside the book
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In his 'Problem Plays,' on the other hand, Shex'pir departs from the conventions of the Klingon stage, and casts a critical eye on Klingon society, at both the individual level and in its relations with other civilizations.
... let belief take hold of him Touching this dreaded sight, twice seen of us: Therefore I have entreated him along With us to watch the minutes of this night; That if again this apparition come, He may approve our eyes and speak to it.
Before my God, I might not this believe Without the sensible and true avouch Of mine own eyes. Is it not like the king? As thou art to thyself: Such was the very armour he had on When he the ambitious Norway combated; So frown'd he once ...
A mote it is to trouble the mind's eye. In the most high and palmy state of Rome, A little ere the mightiest Julius fell, The graves stood tenantless, and the sheeted dead Did squeak and gibber in the Roman streets: As, ...
Therefore our sometime sister, now our queen, The imperial jointress to this warlike state, Have we, as 'twere with a defeated joy,— With an auspicious and a dropping eye, With mirth in funeral, and with dirge in marriage, ...
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How fun to have a parallel edition with the English text of Hamlet on the left page and the corresponding Klingon text of Khamlet on the right page! Then in the back are the textual notes because when the humans stole the work for themselves, they made various changes to fit peculiarities of human culture. Face it, humans are wimps compared to Klingons! And humans have no sense of operatic drama.
As far as the story goes, this is a tale in which nearly all of the characters are supposed to be noble, but most of the deaths are dishonorable. How can these schemers and back-stabbers even claim to be Klingon? They have no place in Sto-vo-kor!
Fortunately, there are a few deaths that are glorious and honorable. They stir the heart.
Another fun part of reading this play is that so many of the speeches and archaic phrases have come into the collective memory of a large number of people. Even the human version has a certain amount of memorable verses. School children should memorize these and their elders should review them often. Modern readers should pepper their conversation with terms such as "Odds bodkin!" Our lives would be so much the richer.
Do you want a book that will be worth the time you spend on it, even though it takes you away from weapons practice and other worthwhile activities? Then this is a book you should read.