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ERIC Number: ED311515
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1987
Pages: 14
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Death and Rebirth in "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan."
Roth, Lane
"Star Trek II" is a treatment of the penultimate stages of the monomyth in which the hero descends into the underworld and is reborn. This psychological sense of rebirth is evoked in modern audiences by the film. In particular, the doppelganger (psychic double) motif, so often associated in film, literature, and myth with the anticipation of death, takes the form in "Star Trek II" of the double-hero. The film's treatment of the myth bifurcates the hero into the individual characters of Admiral James T. Kirk and Captain Spock. The film suggests, through dialogue and imagery, that Spock is really Kirk's doppelganger. The deaths of the double-hero (Spock dies from lethal radiation and Kirk is killed by the revengeful Khan) are followed by rebirth or the promise of rebirth. The cycle of death and rebirth has another equivalent in "Star Trek II's" sight and sound. Spock is the first character we see and the last voice we hear. The promise of continuity on the soundtrack is reinforced by the image track through cyclical camera movement and specific imagery. The film's premier metaphor for education about the death-rebirth cycle is the Kobayashi Maru Test, a simulation of conflict with a enemy spaceship. Film audiences, because of their identification with the double-hero, are also likely to learn from Kirk's words about the interdependence of life and death. The film employs science fiction metaphors to communicate a timeless lesson about the cycle of life, death, and rebirth. (MG)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A