Study Guide

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan Mortality

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Death is a big deal in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. And that comes as a bit of surprise, since we didn't see much of it in the original series.

Kirk, having deftly evaded certain death for most of his career, now has to confront it head on when his best friend dies in order to save the ship. Mortality also comes up on the other side of the fight, since Khan is clearly happy to die if it means getting even with his hated nemesis. There's death everywhere in this film…and even those who survive are going to have to deal with it.

Questions About Mortality

  1. Why does the film show death as a herald of new life?
  2. What separates Spock's death from the death of Khan's wife and the other marooned members of his crew?
  3. What has Kirk gained by refusing to acknowledge the certainty of death in his life? What has he lost?
  4. What are the various characters prepared to die for in this film? How does that impact the manner in which they actually die?

Chew on This

The film believes that death is inevitable, and what defines you is how you choose to meet it.

While death may be inevitable, the film believes that your life defines you, not how you choose to face death.

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