Search Menu

Henry VIII

William Shakespeare

Contents

Prologue; Act I, Scene i

page 2 of 2

Prologue; Act I, Scene i

Page 1

Page 2

Prologue; Act I, Scene i

Prologue; Act I, Scene i

Prologue; Act I, Scene i

Prologue; Act I, Scene i

The Prologue starts the play by emphasizing several key themes of this play, namely feeling pity for those who have fallen, no matter what their past, and the revelation of truth. Explaining that this play concerns the rise and fall of important people close to the king, the Prologue sets the tone of the play. It is not comedy, he says, but more a political thriller. The emphasis on pity indicates that none who will fall are really evil but that they were perhaps misguided or unlucky, and they don't deserve for us to think badly of them.

Freshly back from demonstrations of wealth and power in France, Buckingham is barely able to contain his rage at Wolsey, who he believes is a sinister figure who is attempting to commandeer the power of the king for his own ends. Norfolk's urging barely calms Buckminster, and Buckminster openly accuses Wolsey of treason. Wolsey certainly has his own bad opinions about Buckingham, briefly sounding his plan to get Buckingham's (former) estate manager to testify against him. Buckingham may accuse Wolsey of treason, but Wolsey has the power and means to prove that Buckingham is guilty of that same crime.

Buckingham is the first character we meet, so we tend to believe his accusations, though he gives no clear explanation of what he thinks Wolsey has done wrong. Being arrested helps his case, as it proves that Wolsey was plotting against him offstage. Though the audience has no real proof whether Wolsey is treasonous or Buckingham is to blame, we believe Buckingham as our first witness to the evil of Wolsey. Buckingham is also the first to fall.

Page 1

Page 2

More Help

Previous Next
Not My Favorite (In fact the opposite)

by ReadingShakespeareby450th, July 13, 2013

In reading all of Shakespeare by his 450th birthday, I just finished Henry VIII. It was my least favorite of the Bard's plays, seeming to be more a platform to praise Elizabeth I than entertain audiences. In case you're interested in my take, I've blogged about it at:

http://ow.ly/mVKQx

1 Comments

1 out of 4 people found this helpful

How I got my man back

by jenniferwalker223, December 13, 2016

It's unbelievable how fortunate I feel after finding your website. For the past 6 months, I have been so depressed after losing my husband to another woman. My money situation worsened so much that I thought I'd have to file for bankruptcy. I had a huge amount of debt and I didn't know what to do. Out of complete and total desperation, I contacted many of those so-called individuals who promised powerful magic, witchcraft or black magic. None of them worked and none were as wonderful, affectionate and warm as Dr Baba has been. He is definite... Read more

HOW I GET MY EX LOVER BACK CALL IF YOU NEED HELP ON +2348100772528

by chadjeff120, April 23, 2017

I gave Dr. Alli a call regarding sudden change of my wife and he made it clear to me that my wife will love me till the end of the world,that she will never leave my sight. Now me and my wife is back together again and has started doing pleasant things she hasn’t done before, he makes me happy and do what she is suppose to do as a woman without nagging. Email him for any kind of help you may need Email: allispellhelp1@gmail.com Or Phone number:+2348100772528

See all 24 readers' notes   →