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Henry VIII - Shakespeare

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by

Tonia Li

on 21 April 2016

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Transcript of Henry VIII - Shakespeare

Question
How does Shakespeare use elements like allusion, figurative language or tone to convey Wolsey's complex response to his dismissal from court?
Instructions
Take 10 minutes to discuss with your group.
So farewell to the little good you bear me.
Farewell! a long farewell, to all my greatness!
This is the state of man: to-day he puts forth
The tender leaves of hopes; to-morrow blossoms,
And bears his blushing honours thick upon him;
The third day comes a frost, a killing frost,
And, when he thinks, good easy man, full surely
His greatness is a-ripening, nips his root,
And then he falls, as I do. I have ventured,
Like little wanton boys that swim on bladders,
This many summers in a sea of glory,
But far beyond my depth: my high-blown pride
At length broke under me and now has left me,
Weary and old with service, to the mercy
Of a rude stream, that must for ever hide me.
Vain pomp and glory of this world, I hate ye:
I feel my heart new open'd. O, how wretched
Is that poor man that hangs on princes' favours!
There is, betwixt that smile we would aspire to,
That sweet aspect of princes, and their ruin,
More pangs and fears than wars or women have:
And when he falls, he falls like Lucifer,
Never to hope again.
Allusion
In the speech, Lucifer is mentioned towards the end (line 22). Lucifer is the fallen angel who was banished to Hell. This comparison would show his belief that it is useless to hope, and that he would only feel pain and unhappiness for his entire life. This comparision emphasizes the change in his position. Similar to Lucifer, Wolsey feels powerless.
Figurative Language
Lines 4 to 9: There is an extended metaphor of the seasons in his speech. The blossoms are delicate at first, and then comes a killing frost, which would convey how vulnerable Wolsey is. The frost would represent the king's dismissal of Wolsey, and the fact that it only took three days for the blooming and killing of a flower displays Wolsey's anger.
Henry VIII - Shakespeare
Prompt

In the following speech from Shakespeare's play Henry VII, Cardinal Wolsey considers his sudden downfall from his position as advisor to the king. Spokesmen for the king have just left Wolsey alone on stage. Read the speech carefully. Then write a well-organized essay in which you analyze how Shakepseare uses elements such as allusion, figurative language, and tone to convey Wolsey's complex responses to his dismissal from court.
Instructions
Take 10 minutes to analyze Wolsey's speech by yourselves.
Group 1: Allusion
Group 2: Figurative language
Group 3: Tone
Group 1: Allusion
Group 2: Figurative Language

Group 3: Tone
Tone
Line 10: The Wanton boys floating on the bladders is supposed to represent how Wolsey is being held up by the king and is being supported by all the higher-up authorities that helped him to get where he previously was. The "bladders" were old-time floats, which is a metaphor to represent the king and his power that keeps Wolsey where he is.
In the speech, Wolsey expresses an indignant tone. This can be seen through the use of negative diction in the beginning of the speech, with words such as "farewell", "killing", and "falls". Towards line 17, there is a shift of tone from anger and indignant to hopelessness and despair. He believes there is no more hope left for him. This can be seen with the last line "Never to hope again". This also connects with the allusion of Lucifer, adding to the tone of hopelessness.
Writing Task
Write the thesis statement for the essay.
Outline the body paragraphs, and use specific examples from the text.
By Jahnvi Bhimji, Aadil Habibi and Tonia Li
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