10 Most Tragic Star Trek Characters

These 10 Star Trek characters could've been written by Shakespeare himself.

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Since its debut in 1966, Star Trek and its spin-offs have depicted an optimistic future. However, that hasn't meant that the characters in the various series haven't experienced their fair share of suffering. In a well-crafted drama, characters are shaped by the conflict and suffering they've endured. Sometimes though, characters in Star Trek have faced Shakespearean levels of suffering, heartbreak, and setbacks during their voyages through the cosmos.

These are characters who've been ground down by ancient traditions and codes of honor. They're soldiers who've realized too late they were fighting on the wrong side. They're Starfleet officers who've made wrong decisions for the right reasons. These are scientists who worked hard on world saving projects only to die before their work was complete. They're heroes whose greatest strengths were also their greatest flaws. They're men and women who fought hard for their people only to be killed before seeing their dreams of freedom realized. Here are ten of the most tragic characters in Star Trek.

10. Marla McGivers

Depicted in the Star Trek: The Original Series episode Space Seed, Marla McGivers was the Enterprise historian. However, she was rarely called upon and spent much of her time painting portraits of forceful historical leaders.

When the Enterprise encountered the 20th Century sleeper ship Botany Bay and revived Khan Noonien Singh and his followers, McGivers was initially intrigued by meeting the kind of man she depicted in her artwork. She even convinced Captain Kirk to hold a formal dinner in Khan's honor.

She fell in love with Khan. When he demanded absolute loyalty, she agreed to help him take over the Enterprise. McGivers balked when Khan’s plan proved more violent than she could accept. She turned against Khan in time to stop Kirk’s death and help retake the ship.

When Kirk regained control of the ship, he decide to exile Khan and his people to Ceti Alpha V. Kirk gave McGivers the choice of joining Khan in exile or facing a court-martial. She chose exile and Khan enthusiastically accepted her into his company. As depicted in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, the explosion of Ceti Alpha VI transformed Ceti Alpha V into a wasteland shortly after they arrived.

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Frank Chavez is a freelance writer, playwright, and screenwriter from the San Francisco Bay Area. They live in the Census Designated Place outside the small city, outside of Oakland with their wife and numerous cats.