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Criticizing Historical Adaptations of Cardinal Wolsey in Shakespeare's Henry Viii

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King Henry the VIII was born in Greenwich palace in england on the 28th of june, 1491. Henry didn’t become the king until the unexpected death of his elder brother, Arthur, in April 1502. After seven years, Henry VII died, and the seventeen year old prince acceded to the throne as King Henry VIII on April 21, 1509.Though Parliament’s significance was overshadowed at the time by Henry’s domineering personality, the break with Rome was crucial for the establishment of England’s constitutional monarchy. Henry’s revolutionary claims among them that he was the Supreme Head on Earth of the Church of England needed the support of Parliament to become a political reality.The unique political situation of Henry’s England made his country’s religious reformation similarly unique.At the same time, Henry’s policies, secured a bright future for Protestantism in England, though the Church establishment would remain very traditional in form. The first article that I used for the paper is ‘Sick interpreters’:Criticizing Historical Adaptations of Cardinal Wolsey in Shakespeare’s Henry VIII by Nadia Therese van Pelt. and Woman’s wit and woman’s will in When You See Me, You Know Me by Kim H. Noling.

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In the first article by Nadia Therese Van Pelt talks about Martin Wiggins has observed that the year 1601 saw a fashion for early Tudor history drama, including a number of ‘Wolsey plays’, such as the lost plays The Rising of Cardinal Wolsey, written by Henry Chettle in collaboration with Anthony Munday, Michael Drayton, and Wentworth Smith, and its prequel, Cardinal Wolsey, written by Chettle almost immediately after. In terms of Wolsey’s portrayal, more space for spectators’ sympathy lies with the cardinal, due to the seemingly unbiased posthumous in-play sympathy for both the character and the historical Wolsey as offered by Katherine-she refers to the cardinal as the great child of honour, Cardinal Wolsey and Griffith, who describes Wolsey’s final hours in words of compassion, So went to bed where eagerly his sickness Pursued him still and three nights after this, About the hour of eight, which he himself Foretold should be his last, full of repentance, Continual meditations, tears, and sorrows, He gave his honours to the world again, His blessed part to heaven, and slept in peace.

In the second article by Kim H. Noling talks about In contrast, the earlier play begins by fashioning Jane Seymour’s will to portray Henry VIII favorably even as he gains his dynastic hopes through her death; later shows a more headstrong queen, Lady Mary, transforming a role as handmaiden to her brother King Henry’s dynastic plans into one that at least seems to serve not his will but her own; and finally portrays a queen, Katherine Parr, whose wit and will operate wholly outside any dynastic function. ‘Heavens powerful hand may more children giue’ nicely counters the misogynous sentiment in Sanders that Henry ‘Could easily provide himself with other wives’; indeed, though the solution of a new wife might seem obvious, given the real Henry VIII’s marital history, the idea seems never to cross this stage Henry’s mind.Rowley endows Jane with just enough independent will to free Henry from responsibility for her death; in assigning the ultimate responsibility to her after showing Henry valuing Jane over the child, Rowley allows Henry, father at last to a healthy son, to have his cake and eat it, too.Rowley’s scene shows Henry abstaining from the pleasure of replicating himself in a ‘Ninth Henrie,’ but the playwright’s patron, Prince Henry, would have seen himself poised to fulfill Henry VIII’s dream.

I agree with the article ‘Sick interpreters’:Criticizing Historical Adaptations of Cardinal Wolsey in Shakespeare’s Henry VIII, how the book and the article both portray Wolsey as a villain. The article and the book points out that which Wolsey uses King Henry the VIII to manifest himself politically to buy King Henry the VIII favor and to exercise control. In act one scene one Buckingham let the king know “As soon he shall by me that thus, the cardinal does buy and sell his honor as he pleases and for his own advantage”. This points out that Wolsey is a good manipulator with a lot of tricks, which he will use to get what he wants.  

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