Henry VIII

Shakespeare: the funny bits

3rd Gentlemen. Believe me, sir, she is the goodliest woman
That ever lay by man; which when the people
Had the full view of, such a noise arose
As the shrouds make at sea in a stiff tempest,
As loud, and to as many tunes; hats, cloaks—
Doublets, I think—flew up, and had their faces
Been loose, this day they had been lost.

You’re quite sure they were doublets, then? And a good job their faces didn’t all fall off. Wait, what?

I had no idea that Henry VIII existed before I set out on this slightly mad enterprise. Auden passes over it in silence, perhaps because the play is thought to be only partly Will’s work; had it not been in the Complete Works I’ve been reading from, I would still be ignorant of it. Which would be a shame: apart from creakiness in certain passages, the play is quite good fun to read. It’s also interesting to read a history play about an almost-contemporary king, and to get a less stereotyped idea of Henry VIII.

It was the last play I read, and I finished it sitting under this tree.

Willow

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One response to “Henry VIII

  1. I always thought it was kind of fitting that the original Globe Theatre burned down during a performance of Henry VIII. Trust those guys to use a practical cannon.

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