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King Henry VIII Summary
William Shakespeare

Everything you need to understand or teach King Henry VIII by William Shakespeare.

  • King Henry VIII Summary & Study Guide
  • 1 Biography
  • 40 Literature Criticism
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King Henry VIII Summary


Upon first reading, Henry VIII seems obscure and inaccessible to modern readers. Its episodic plot leaps from one group of characters to the next, relying on the audience's background understanding of Tudor history to fill in the gaps. Despite its difficulties, however, the basic format of Henry VIII looks more familiar. It can be seen as an Elizabethan version of "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous," a glimpse, although fictionalized, into the lives of the most famous public figures of the era. It examines the private and the public lives of England's rulers, and looks at what happens when personal likes and dislikes get tangled up with politics. Henry's desire to find a new wife is not just the story of a man having an affair; he is the king, and the woman he chooses will influence a nation and mother the heir to the throne. The squabble between...

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King Henry VIII Study Guide

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