In his play Henry VIII, author William Shakespeare does an incredible job of conveying the emotions of his character Wolsey, who has just received the shock of his dismissal as the King's advisor. Shakespeare's description is realistic because it reflects the range of feelings people often undergo when reeling from an unexpected disappointment. Wolsey's soliloquy reveals anger and lamentation as he struggles to come to terms with what has happened. Shakespeare portrays both the hostility and despair of Wolsey's reaction through allusion, figurative language, and an altercation in tone.
The words Shakespeare picks reflect Wolsey's reaction because they show strong emotion. Wolsey describes himself as "weary," which suggests that he has put all his effort and time into his position, leaving him feeling tired. "Weary" connotes aging, as if Wolsey has expended a great amount of time in his dedication to his work. "Wretched," another word Shakespeare used in the passage, was used to characterize those such as himself who have lived their lives depending on the approval of others. The connotations of "wretched" are despair and hopelessness. These particular choices of words are negative and imply that Wolsey has no hope for his future, leaving him feeling despair and desperation. Shakespeare’s choice of allusion provides the reader’s an insight in the extremity of Wolsey's emotional state.
By using figurative language in the passage, Shakespeare conjures visuals that demonstrate Wolsey's frustration along with despair. He utilizes the metaphor of a fragile flower to symbolize Wolsey's spirit, first off by saying "the tender leaves of hopes," then blooming only to be struck by a "killing frost." This image shows Wolsey's weakness and innocence. The frost, which represents the king's dismissal of Wolsey, is very cruel. By placing the sprouting, blooming, and death of the flower within a short three-day span, Shakespeare indicates Wolsey's anger at how quickly he...
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