The Triumphant Reign of Henry the Viii-V02

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“Alexandru Ioan Cuza” National College
Specialization: Philology - Bilingual English
Discipline: English

The triumphant reign of Henry the
VIII

Coordinating Professors: Mariana Gaiu
Sorina Şoaică

Student: Irina Stan

2011
Contents

Introduction2
1.Social background of the age3
2.Henry VIII9
2.1 Henry VIII’s character10
2.2 Cardinal Wolsey11
2.3 Henry VIII & Christianity12
a)Popular religious idealism12
b)Christian Humanism and the influence of Greek learning14
2.4 Henrician Reformation16
a)Henry VIII’s first divorce16
b)Supreme head of the Ecclesia Anglicana18
c)The dissolution of the religious houses20
2.5 The matrimonial adventures of Henry VIII22
2.6 An extension of English hegemony23
a)The Union of England and Wales23
b)Tudor Irish policy24
c)The need to control Scotland25
Conclusions28
Bibliography29

Introduction

The age of the Tudors has left its impact on Anglo-American minds as a watershed in British history. Hallowed tradition, native patriotism, and post imperial gloom have united to swell our appreciation of the period as a true golden age. Names alone evoke a phoenix-glow – Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, and Mary Stuart among the sovereigns of England and Scotland; Wolsey, William Cecil, and Leicester among the politicians; Marlowe, Shakespeare, Hilliard, and Byrd among the creative artists. The splendors of the Court of Henry VIII, the fortitude of Sir Thomas More, the making of the English Bible, Prayer Book, and Anglican Church, the development of Parliament, the defeat of the Armada, the Shakespearian moment, and the legacy of Tudor domestic architecture – there are the undoubted climaxes of a simplified orthodoxy in which genius, romance, and tragedy are superabundant. Reality is inevitably more complex, less glamorous, and more interesting than myth. The most potent forces within Tudor England were often social, economic, and demographic ones. Thus if the period became a golden age, it was primarily because the considerable growth in population that occurred between 1500 and the death of Elizabeth I did not so dangerously exceed the capacity of available resources, particularly food supplies, as to precipitate a Malthusian crisis. Famine and disease unquestionably disrupted and disturbed the Tudor economy, but they did not raze it to its foundations, as in the fourteenth century. More positively, the increased manpower and demand that sprang from rising population stimulated economic growth and the commercialization of agriculture, encouraged trade and urban renewal, inspired a housing revolution, enhanced the sophistication of English manners, especially in London, and (more arguably) bolstered new and exciting attitudes among Tudor Englishmen, notably individualistic ones derived from Reformation ideals and Calvinist theology.

In order to present a clear picture of 16th century England, we considered depicting Henry VIII reign in a period of instability from the point of view of religion and state limits. The king’s egoism, self-righteousness, and unlimited capacity to brood over suspected wrongs, or petty slights, sprang from the fatal combination of a relatively able but distinctly second—rate mind and a pronounced inferiority complex that derived from Henry VII’s treatment of his second son. For the first of the Tudors had found his younger son unsatisfactory; on Arthur’s death, Henry had been given no functions beyond the title of Prince of Wales—a signal of unmistakable mistrust. As a result, Henry VIII had resolved to rule, even where, as in the case of the Church, it would have been enough merely to reign. He would put monarchic theory into practice; would give the words Rex Imperator a meaning never dreamt of even by the emperors of Rome, if he possibly could. Henry was...
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