Darmok (TNG episode)

From Academic Kids

Darmok is an episode of the science fiction series Star Trek: The Next Generation.

The plot involves Captain Picard's attempts to communicate with an alien captain, with whom he has been stranded on a hostile planet. The story provides a contemporary example of the problems with communication with someone speaking a metaphorical language.

It features Captain Picard, played by Patrick Stewart, and Dathon of the alien Tamarian race, played by Paul Winfield. The Tamarian language, although translated by Picard's universal translator device, is still unintelligible, because it is too deeply rooted in local metaphor to communicate ideas. Eventually Picard grasps the similarities between the alien's references, and make connections to story references in the alien's literature. It is not clear how a species could develop starships with a language based entirely upon metaphor given the exactitude required for mathematics and physics.

The title of the episode comes from one of the metaphors Dathon uses, "Darmok and Jalad at Tenagra". This apparently refers to a situation where a hero must learn to trust another so that they may work together to defeat a common foe, as Picard and Dathon do on the planet.

Quotes

  • "Shaka, when the walls fell." (meaning Failure)
  • "Temba, his arms wide." (meaning Gift, or to Give)
  • "Mirab, his sails unfurled" (meaning travel)
  • "Sukat, his eyes open" (understanding, revealing truth)
  • "Sukat, his face black, his eyes red" (war, violence)
  • "Uzani, his army with fists open" (to lure the enemy away) - "...with fists closed" (to attack)
  • "Picard and Dathon at El Adrel" (a new metaphor added to the language at the end of the incident)
  • "Gilgamesh and Enkidu in Uruk" (Picard's metaphor about old Babylonian legends)

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