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Henry VIII (1612)

de William Shakespeare, John Fletcher

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1,4062113,473 (3.32)41
King Henry is married to Katherine of Aragon, but he has been smitten by the charms of the queen's maid of honor, Anne Bullen, and is tempted to divorce his dignified and noble wife. Meanwhile, the lords of England resent the influence of Henry's trusted advisor, Cardinal Wolsey, who is gradually drawing power into his own hands. As Katherine and Wolsey suffer their tragic falls, new figures rise to fill their places, but they, too, will be brought low by the inexorable sweep of time and fortune. This colorful history play, possibly written in collaboration with John Fletcher, comes from the very end of Shakespeare's dramatic career. Paul Jesson plays Henry VIII, and Jane Lapotaire plays Queen Katherine. Timothy West is Cardinal Wolsey.… (mais)
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Mostrando 1-5 de 21 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
William Shakespeare's last English history play reads depressingly as if the magnificent Henriad had not existed. Thematically and stylistically it is a companion piece to Shakespeare's Wars of the Roses plays from the dawn of his career as a playwright. Like H VI 1-3 this is written in collaboration. If this is a sequel to RIII then it is a very mediocre one. The characters of Katherine and Wolsey are the main - in fact the only - highlights of the play. In sum the drama appears a weak pretext for depicting a Grand Pageant for the Tudor succession which backfired (literally when the Globe was set on fire by a stage cannon). ( )
  merlin1234 | Apr 11, 2023 |
Actually the version in the Norton Histories [b:The Norton Shakespeare, Based on the Oxford Edition: Histories|3862365|The Norton Shakespeare, Based on the Oxford Edition Histories (Norton Shakespeare)|Stephen Greenblatt|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1390062413s/3862365.jpg|21929509], not the Arden.

On the surface, All is True is a puff piece written to suck up to King James I. The ending certainly gives that impression, as Elizabeth is christened and the archbishop gives forth a prophecy of her future greatness and that of the male heirs that, childless, she will miraculously produce.

But an early patron, a descendant of Buckingham, walked out at the scene where his ancestor was lead to the Tower (and thence to execution). Cardinal Wolsey, a scheming villain if ever there was one, receives his due comeuppance early on -- and his Protestant successor is nearly run to the Tower himself, by the same (Catholic) nobles that had just so deservedly done in Wolsey.

Above this all is Henry, allowing injustice to thrive when it suits him, halting it at his pleasure. Being king, he can do no wrong, and his perfection is lauded by all (though they do, toward the end, start to address him as "My dread King") -- yet clearly he is the cause of the suffering and strife that runs throughout the play.

Are his pronouncements and doings mere whims? Is he, like Wolsey, hatching schemes which persistently go awry? Or does a deep-seated hatred of his fellow man cause him to wreak such havoc?

The play, alas, gives us no answer. This is much more "The Birth of Elizabeth" than it is any portrait of Henry VIII, and that is what makes it approach mediocrity. So much plotting and intrigue, all leading up to a lackluster finish. ( )
  mkfs | Aug 13, 2022 |
This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Henry VIII
Author: William Shakespeare
Rating: 2.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Play
Pages: 261
Words: 75K

Synopsis:

From Wikipedia

The play opens with a Prologue (by a figure otherwise unidentified), who stresses that the audience will see a serious play, and appeals to the audience members: "The first and happiest hearers of the town," to "Be sad, as we would make ye."

Act I opens with a conversation between the Dukes of Norfolk and Buckingham and Lord Abergavenny. Their speeches express their mutual resentment over the ruthless power and overweening pride of Cardinal Wolsey. Wolsey passes over the stage with his attendants, and expresses his own hostility toward Buckingham. Later Buckingham is arrested on treason charges—Wolsey's doing.

The play's second scene introduces King Henry VIII, and shows his reliance on Wolsey as his favourite. Queen Katherine enters to protest about Wolsey's abuse of the tax system for his own purposes; Wolsey defends himself, but when the King revokes the Cardinal's measures, Wolsey spreads a rumour that he himself is responsible for the King's action. Katherine also challenges the arrest of Buckingham, but Wolsey defends the arrest by producing the Duke's Surveyor, the primary accuser. After hearing the Surveyor, the King orders Buckingham's trial to occur.

At a banquet thrown by Wolsey, the King and his attendants enter in disguise as masquers. The King dances with Anne Bullen.

Two anonymous Gentlemen open Act II, one giving the other an account of Buckingham's treason trial. Buckingham himself enters in custody after his conviction, and makes his farewells to his followers and to the public. After his exit, the two Gentlemen talk about court gossip, especially Wolsey's hostility toward Katherine. The next scene shows Wolsey beginning to move against the Queen, while the nobles Norfolk and Suffolk look on critically. Wolsey introduces Cardinal Campeius and Gardiner to the King; Campeius has come to serve as a judge in the trial Wolsey is arranging for Katherine.

Anne Bullen is shown conversing with the Old Lady who is her attendant. Anne expresses her sympathy at the Queen's troubles; but then the Lord Chamberlain enters to inform her that the King has made her Marchioness of Pembroke. Once the Lord Chamberlain leaves, the Old Lady jokes about Anne's sudden advancement in the King's favour.

A lavishly-staged trial scene (Act II Scene 4) portrays Katherine's hearing before the King and his courtiers. Katherine reproaches Wolsey for his machinations against her, and refuses to stay for the proceedings. But the King defends Wolsey, and states that it was his own doubts about the legitimacy of their marriage that led to the trial. Campeius protests that the hearing cannot continue in the Queen's absence, and the King grudgingly adjourns the proceeding. (Act III) Wolsey and Campeius confront Katherine among her ladies-in-waiting; Katherine makes an emotional protest about her treatment.

Norfolk, Suffolk, Surrey, and the Lord Chamberlain are shown (Act III Scene 2) plotting against Wolsey. A packet of Wolsey's letters to the Pope have been re-directed to the King; the letters show that Wolsey is playing a double game, opposing Henry's planned divorce from Katherine to the Pope while supporting it to the King. The King shows Wolsey his displeasure, and Wolsey for the first time realises that he has lost Henry's favour. The noblemen mock Wolsey, and the Cardinal sends his follower Cromwell away so that Cromwell will not be brought down in Wolsey's fall from grace.

The two Gentlemen return in Act IV to observe and comment upon the lavish procession for Anne Bullen's coronation as Queen, which passes over the stage in their presence. Afterward they are joined by a third Gentleman, who updates them on more court gossip – the rise of Thomas Cromwell in royal favour, and plots against Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury. (Scene 2) Katherine is shown ill; is told of Wolsey's death; has a vision of dancing spirits. Caputius visits her. Katherine expresses her continuing loyalty to the King, despite the divorce, and wishes the new queen well.

Act V. The King summons a nervous Cranmer to his presence, and expresses his support; later, when Cranmer is shown disrespect by the King's Council, Henry reproves them and displays his favour of the churchman. Anne Bullen gives birth to a daughter, the future Queen Elizabeth. In the play's closing scenes, the Porter and his Man complain about trying to control the massive and enthusiastic crowds that attend the infant Elizabeth's christening; another lush procession is followed by a prediction of the glories of the new born princess's future reign and that of her successor. The Epilogue, acknowledging that the play is unlikely to please everyone, asks nonetheless for the audience's approval.

My Thoughts:

The edition of The Complete Shakespeare I am reading has these “History” plays in alphabetical order instead of chronological order, so we skipped right over Richard III. That'll probably be next.

I didn't actually care. I cared less about this than I did for the entire Henry VI trilogy, which I didn't think was possible.

★★✬☆☆ ( )
  BookstoogeLT | Jul 25, 2022 |
Not bad. Not excellent. Happy birthday to it this year. ( )
  et.carole | Jan 21, 2022 |
I feel like there's diminishing returns in these last few "Shakespeare and friends" works. This one was an awful lot of politics (the boring kind), a whole lotta telling, and almost everything important happening off-stage.

That said, the scene where Cardinal Wosley's scheming is revealed and he realizes he's lost the favour of King Henry, and ultimately sends Cromwell away? Brilliantly done.

Overall, however, not my favourite. Nope, not by a long shot. ( )
  TobinElliott | Sep 3, 2021 |
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» Adicionar outros autores (23 possíveis)

Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Shakespeare, Williamautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Fletcher, Johnautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Berdan, John M.Editorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Brooke, TuckerEditorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Foakes, R. A.Editorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Gentleman, DavidDesigner da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Gollancz, IsraelPrefácioautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Hudson, Henry N.Editorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Kredel, FritzDesigner da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Lamar, Virginia A.Editorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Maxwell, J CEditorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Rolfe, William J.Editorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Smith, D. NicholEditorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Wright, Louis B.Editorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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I come no more to make you laugh: things now,
That bear a weighty and a serious brow,
Sad, high, and working, full of state and woe,
Such noble scenes as draw the eye to flow,
We now present.
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'Tis better to be lowly born,
And range with humble livers in content,
Than to be perked up in a glistering grief,
And wear a golden sorrow.
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This work is for the complete Henry VIII only. Do not combine this work with abridgements, adaptations or simplifications (such as "Shakespeare Made Easy"), Cliffs Notes or similar study guides, or anything else that does not contain the full text. Do not include any video recordings. Additionally, do not combine this with other plays.

A majority of Shakespeare scholars nowadays accept the theory that Henry VIII was written jointly by Shakespeare and John Fletcher, though many editions of the play still credit Shakespeare as the sole author.
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King Henry is married to Katherine of Aragon, but he has been smitten by the charms of the queen's maid of honor, Anne Bullen, and is tempted to divorce his dignified and noble wife. Meanwhile, the lords of England resent the influence of Henry's trusted advisor, Cardinal Wolsey, who is gradually drawing power into his own hands. As Katherine and Wolsey suffer their tragic falls, new figures rise to fill their places, but they, too, will be brought low by the inexorable sweep of time and fortune. This colorful history play, possibly written in collaboration with John Fletcher, comes from the very end of Shakespeare's dramatic career. Paul Jesson plays Henry VIII, and Jane Lapotaire plays Queen Katherine. Timothy West is Cardinal Wolsey.

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