Meta Treks 83: Caesar of the Stars / by Trek fm

The Conscience of the King.


Running Time: 1 hour 21 minutes 46 seconds
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To what extent does a person remain morally responsible for his or her actions over time, even after many years or after changes in character and experience? Can people ever change who they fundamentally are inside, or do they merely become better actors playing different roles?

In "The Conscience of the King" (Star Trek: The Original Series, Season 1), Captain Kirk suspects the 23rd-Century Shakespearean actor Anton Karidian of actually being the (believed-deceased) former governor of Earth colony Tarsus IV, Kodos "The Executioner," notorious for having executed over 4,000 people. Is Karidian really Kodos after all? And if so, is Karidian now a different person, in a moral sense, than the person he used to be? Or is Kodos "The Executioner" still there just beneath the surface and under the guise of Karidian the actor?

In this episode of Meta Treks, hosts Zachary Fruhling and Mike Morrison discuss the philosophical themes of moral responsibility and personal identity over time in "The Conscience of the King," including the inspired use of theater-acting and masks as metaphors for personal transformation, or perhaps the lack thereof.


Intro (00:01:20)
Initial Thoughts about "The Conscience of the King" (00:02:30)
Morality and Identity Over Time (00:10:31)
Radical Conversion, Paul the Apostle, and Identity (00:16:31)
The Sins of the Father: Lenore Karidian (00:24:26)
Caesar of the Stars (00:26:46)
Kodos and Eugenics (00:32:18)
Not Very Human (00:41:03)
Truman on Trial (00:51:29)
Guilt and Culpability (00:57:10)
Riley and Revenge (01:00:25)
Closing (01:14:29)


Zachary Fruhling and Mike Morrison


Mike Morrison (Editor) Zachary Fruhling (Producer) C Bryan Jones (Executive Producer) Matthew Rushing (Executive Producer) Ken Tripp (Executive Producer) Patrick Devlin (Associate Producer) Kay Shaw (Associate Producer) Mark Walker (Associate Producer) Norman C. Lao (Associate Producer) Richard Marquez (Production Manager) Brandon-Shea Mutala (Patreon Manager)